Word of the day


Zeigarnik – the psychological tendency to remember an uncompleted task rather than a completed one.

(Could it also be defined as the propensity for guilt in a procrastinator?)

Oprah and out


Am I the only one in the world who has never watched a single episode of Oprah?

In spite of that omission there’s a process not unlike osmosis by which knowledge of celebrities seeps into your brain and I’ve unconsciously picked up quite a bit about her. That includes the knowledge that today she signed off from her last show.

Have I missed anything of note?

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: “In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on woman.

2. It’s l’argent in French,  solid  soldi in Italian, dinero in Spanish and moni in aori, what is it in English.

3. Who brought us this  in Hogsnort Rupert’s song?

4. What is/are Ovis Aries ?

5. What is a philtrum?

Top of the food chain


Quote of the week:

Peter Talley at the Maori Fisheries Conference :

“I, for one, certainly did not fight my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables.”

(Spotted on Facebook – I’m not sure of the etiquette around this – am I supposed to link to and/or name the person who posted it?)

Drs shouldn’t need court approval to do no harm


“How aggressive do you want us to be in treating Tom?” the doctor asked.

He was referring to our baby who had a degenerative brains disorder, had stopped breathing, been revived and taken to hospital.

We said that if he was fighting for himself he should be helped but if it came down to using technology to prolong the inevitable he should be left alone.

A few hours later another doctor asked the same question and I gave the same answer. Tom died a few minutes later, in my arms.

Nearly seven years later Tom’s brother Dan stopped breathing. The registrar treating him asked the nurse to get the crash team but I said “no”.

The paediatrician in charge of Dan’s care had discussed this situation with us when he was only a few weeks old and it was obvious he had the same condition which had killed Tom. The consultant’s advice was that if something life threatening happened, Dan shouldn’t be treated.

I explained this to the registrar who asked me if I was sure. I said “yes,” and he said, “I think that’s the right decision.”

That was 17 years ago tomorrow and I thought that this sort of  situatio, while not common-place, wouldn’t be unusual. Life is fatal and not treating someone who is terminally ill can sometimes be the best way of doing no harm.

I thought that was accepted practice.  But just a couple of weeks ago a special court was convened at night to determine whether a health board’s decision not to do surgery on a terminally ill boy would amount to homicide.

A judge ruled it did not, finding it was in accordance with “good medical practice” not to do the life-prolonging operation. The seven-year-old boy died the next day.

This sort of decision shouldn’t be taken lightly but I don’t understand why there was a need to take it to court. As Dr Richard McGrarth says at Not PC:

 I find it disturbing that a court should even be considering whether they can force a surgeon to operate on anyone, or charge him with homicide if he declines to operate and the patient then dies of natural causes.

I have no doubts that not treating my sons was the right thing to do.

If I was in a similar position with a similar prognosis I’d make the same decision again and I’d be very upset if I had to go to court to protect the doctors I was asking to withhold treatment.

Doctors shouldn’t need a judge’s approval to do nothing when that is the best way to do no harm.

Could Mana be confused with Mana or mana?


The Electoral Commission is calling for submissions on the application for the registration of the Mana Party.

Registration may be refused if the name is indecent, offensive, excessively long, likely to cause confusion or mislead electors, or contains any reference to a title or honour or similar form of identification.
Anyone who wishes to comment may do so in writing to the Electoral Commission at:
The deadline for comments is 5pm, Wednesday, 8 June 2011.

There’s not much danger of Mana (the party) being confused with mana (the description of character) but could it be confused with Mana (the electorate)?

It’s not the first party to use Mana in it’s name. But they both had another word in their name – Mana Motuhake and Mana Wahine which reduced the possibility of confusion.

May 26 in history


451   Battle of Avarayr between Armenian rebels and the Sassanid Emire.

113 5 Alfonso VII of León and Castile was crowned in the Cathedral of Leon as Imperator totius Hispaniae, “Emperor of All the Spains”.

1293 An earthquake in  Kamakura, Japan  killed about 30,000.

1328  William of Ockham, Franciscan Minister-General Michael of Cesena and two other Franciscan leaders secretly left  Avignon, fearing a death sentence from Pope John XXII.

1538  Geneva expelled John Calvin and his followers from the city.


1637  Pequot War: A combined Protestant and Mohegan force under Captain John Mason attacked a Pequot village massacring approximately 500 people.


1647 Alse Young was the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies.

1670  In Dover, England, Charles II of Great Britain and Louis XIV of France signed the Secret Treaty of Dover.


1689 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, English writer was born (d. 1762).


1736 Battle of Ackia: British and Chickasaw soldiers repelled a French and Choctaw attack on the Chickasaw village of Ackia.


1770 The Orlov Revolt, a first attempt to revolt against the Turks before the Greek War of Independence, ended in disaster for the Greeks.


1783  A Great Jubilee Day was held in Trumbull, Connecticut to celebrate the end of the American Revolution.

1822 116 people die din the Grue Church fire, the biggest fire disaster in Norway’s history.

1828 Mysterious feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg.

1830  The Indian Removal Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1857 Dred Scott was emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.


1863 Robert Fitzsimmons, Boxing champion who live din Timaru, was born (d. 1917).

Robert Fitzsimmons.jpg

1865 American Civil War: Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, was the last general of the Confederate Army to surrender, at Galveston, Texas.


1868 The impeachment trial of U.S. President Andrew Johnson ended with Johnson being found not guilty by one vote.

1869  Boston University was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


1879  Parihaka Maori, led by Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi, embarked upon a ploughing campaign to protest against European settlement on confiscated Maori land.

Parihaka ploughing campaign begins

 1879  Russia and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.


 1883  Mamie Smith, American singer , was born (d. 1946).

1886 Al Jolson, American singer, was born (d. 1950).

1889 Opening of the first Eiffel Tower lift to the public.


1896 Nicholas II became  Tsar of Russia.

1896  Charles Dow  published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.


1904  George Formby, English singer and comedian, was born (d. 1961).

1906 Vauxhall Bridge was opened in London.

1907 John Wayne, American actor, was born (d. 1979).

1908 At Masjed Soleyman (مسجد سليمان) in southwest Persia  the first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East was made.

1915 Antonia Forest, British children’s author, was born (d. 2003).

First edition cover

1917  An F4btornado ripped Mattoon, Illinois apart, killing 101 people and injuring 689. It was the world’s longest-lasting tornado, lasting for over 7 hours and traveling 293 miles.

1918  Armenia defeated the Ottoman Army in the Battle of Sardarapat.

1918  The Democratic Republic of Georgia was established.

1920 Peggy Lee, American singer, was born (d. 2002).

1923  Roy Dotrice, British actor, was born.

1926 Miles Davis, American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, was born  (d. 1991).

1928 The first motion picture was projected publicly in Athens.

1936  In the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, Tommy Henderson began speaking on the Appropriation Bill. By the time he sat down in the early hours of the following morning, he had spoken for 10 hours.

1938  The House Un-American Activities Committee began its first session.


1940  World War II: Battle of Dunkirk – Allied  forces began a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.


1942  World War II: The Battle of Bir Hakeim.


1945  Garry Peterson, Canadian drummer (The Guess Who), was born.

1948 Stevie Nicks, American songwriter, was born.

1948 The U.S. Congress passes Public Law 557 which permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

Civil Air Patrol seal.png

1951 Sally Ride, American astronaut, was born.


1966 – Helena Bonham Carter, English actress, was born.


1966 – Zola Budd, South African athlete, was born.


1966 British Guiana gained independence, becoming Guyana.


1969 Apollo 10 returned to Earth after a successful eight-day test of all the components needed for the forthcoming first manned moon landing.

1970 The Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 became the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2.


1972 Willandra National Park was established in Australia.

1972  The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

1977 George Willig climbed the South Tower of  the World Trade Centre.

1981 Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resigned following a scandal over membership of the pseudo-masonic lodge P2 (Propaganda Due).

1983  A  7.7 magnitude earthquake in Japan, triggered a tsunami that killed at least 104 people and injured thousands.

1986  The European Community adopted the European flag.

See adjacent text.

1991  Zviad Gamsakhurdia became  the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era.

1991  Lauda Air Flight 004 exploded over rural Thailand, killing 223.

1992  Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems, Inc was kidnapped.

1998 The United States Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, was mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.

Ellis Island is located in New York City

2003  Only three days after a previous record, Sherpa Lakpa Gelu climbed  Mount Everest in 10 hours 56 minutes.

2004 The New York Times published an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skepticism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

2006  The May 2006 Java earthquake killed more than 5,700 people, and left 200,000 homeless.


Sourced from NZ history Online & Wikipedia

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