Word of the day

08/08/2011

Heroine –  a woman of distinguished courage, daring action or ability; a woman admired and emulated for her brave deeds and noble qualities; a woman noted for special achievement in a particular field; a mythological or legendary woman having the qualities of a hero; the principal female character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.


Thanks for the stadium, Malcolm

08/08/2011

Malcolm Farry and the team promoting the Forsyth Barr stadium have faced a barrage of criticism over the design, location and cost.

They stayed firm, focussed on building a stadium we could be proud of and it opened on Friday – more or less on time and to budget.

That was no small achievement and the stadium itself is a wonderful asset not just for Dunedin but the lower South Island and, at least until the rest of New Zealand catches up, the country.

Thank you Malcolm, you and your team have done a really good job.

Snow threatened yesterday morning and there was a polar wind blowing when we got to Dunedin an hour before kick-off in the match between North Otago and West Coast. Inside the stadium and out of the wind, though the temperature was merely cool but not uncomfortable.

We were on the lower level of the south stand near the 22m line and had a good view of the whole field. The loos were spotless and plentiful – 38 loos and 14 hand basins with high speed hand dryers for women  at either end of each level and men reported more than enough for them. 

I have just a couple of recommendations for improvements – a responsible host might consider selling water for less than $5 a bottle when beer cost just $1 more; and there would be a market for hot drinks as well as cold.

Hundreds of North Otago people had come down to inspect the stadium and cheer on the team. We were rewarded when halfback Hamish McKenzie went over for the historic first inter-provincial try at the stadium.

North Otago kept the lead, although the final score , 29-19, probably flattered the team .

For more words and some photos of the stadium and yesterday’s game check out this baby makes it all worth while by  Hayden Meikle  and a match report in the ODT and Mydeology’s day 5 of opt-out watch Forsyth Barr stadium bonanza edition.

Former Dunedin mayor Peter Chin and sitting councsellor Lee Vandervis debated stadium funding on Afternoons.


6/10

08/08/2011

6/10 in the Herald’s entertainment quiz – all but two of which were guesses.


Nancy Wake dies

08/08/2011

World War II heroine Nancy Wake has died in London.

Peter Fitzsimons told her story in Nancy Wake, A Biography of our Greatest War Heroine.

The dust cover says:

In the early 1930s, Nancy Wake was a young woman enjoying a bohemian life in Paris. By the end of the Second World War, she was the Gestapo’s most wanted person.

As a naive, young journalist, Nancy Wake, witnessed a horrific scene of Nazi violence in a Viennese street. From that moment, she was determined to do everything in her power to rid Europe of the Nazi presence. What began as a courier job, carrying messages between groups of partisans, became a highly successful escape network for Allied soldiers, perfectly camouflaged by Nancy’s high-society life in Marseille.

Her network was soon so successful – and so notorious – that she had to flee France to escape the Gestapo, who had dubbed her ‘the white mouse’ for her knack of slipping through its traps.

But Nancy was a passionate enemy of the Nazis and refused to stay away. She trained with the British Special Operations Executive and parachuted back into France behind enemy lines. Again, this singular woman rallied to the cause, helping to lead a powerful underground fighting force, the Maquis. Supplying weapons and training the civilian Maquis, organising Allied parachute drops, launching countless raids and ambushes on Nazi convoys, cycling four hundred kilometres through German checkpoints and across a mountain range to find a new transmitting radio – nothing seemed too difficult in her fight against the Nazis. She was, as one of her old comrades remarked, the most feminine of women but she fought like five men.

Nancy Wake is our most decorated wartime heroine, having received the George Medal, the French Croix de Guerre with Star and two Palms, the Untied States Medal of Freedom with Palm, the French Medaille de la Resistance, and the French Chevalier de Legion d’Honour.

Campaigns to award her a New Zealand honour failed although the RSA recognised her with a Gold Medal.

A comment by Lieutenant-General Peter Cosgrove AC, MC, on the dust cover of her biogrpahy says:

 At its core this book is about sacrifice and a willingness to risk all for a higher cause. And it is in this sense, that Nancy’s life has very real contemporary meaning for all Australians . . . This commitment to finish what you have commenced – no matter how difficult or dangers – stands as a guiding beacon.


More olds than news

08/08/2011

Ho hum, United future leader Peter Dunne told the New Zealand Herald he’d smoked cannabis when he was  a student.

That it made headlines not only in the Herald but other media shows the loss of institutional knowledge in our media. He said he’d never denied it and he made the same admission about three years ago.

In the run-up to the 2008 election party leaders were asked if they’d ever smoked pot. Then-PM Helen Clark said something to the effect that she’d been a student at Auckland in the 60s which was taken to mean she had; then-leader of the opposition John Key gave a straight no and Dunne said yes.

Perhaps this time the story might be kept in the archives so that three years hence in the run-up to another election reporters and editors won’t repeat a non-story which is more olds than news.


Why didn’t Labour nationalise Air NZ?

08/08/2011

Labour is trying its best to put people off National’s mixed-ownership model for state assets.

They’d rather borrow or tax more than allow New Zealand individuals and institutions like superanuation funds to invest in local companies through the partial sale of some state-owned companies.

Their argument is high on emotion and low on logic and it’s very much do as we say not as we do – or at least did when in power.

If the mixed-ownership model was really such a bad idea, they’d have nationalised Air New Zealand.

Instead, they purchased a share, leaving the rest of the company in public hands and subject to the discipline, rigor and scrutiny of  a publicly listed company.

The airline and its shareholders, including the government on our behalf,  are much better off this way than if the company was 100% state owned.


Putting the numbers into perspective

08/08/2011

The principles of running an economy aren’t very different from those of running a household with a lot more zeros.

But all those zeros are difficult to grasp. US financial writer Dave Ramsay put the big numbers into perspective:

“If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt, reduced to a level that we can understand.”

Wilkins Micawber reckoned overspending one’s annual income by just five pence resulted in misery for an individual.

Continuing to overspend a country’s income by much bigger numbers will eventually result in misery for many more people.

All political parties have a duty to ensure that we don’t keep on spending more than we’re earning. That’s why National is determined to get the government’s books back into surplus as soon as possible.

Parties of the left don’t appear to understand the importance of this and are still promoting policies which will increase taxes and spending and make little or no attempt to cut costs.

What they’re proposing is like a household adding to the mortgage and credit card debt to buy luxuries. The impact of that might not be noticed in the short term. But the medium long term result will be misery and those who will be most miserable will be the poorest who have fewer of their own resources on which to fallback.

Hat Tip for the Ramsay quote: Lambcut at Roarprawn


August 8 in history

08/08/2011

1220 Sweden  was defeated by Estonian tribes in the Battle of Lihula.

1503  King James IV of Scotland married Margaret Tudor.

1509  The Emperor Krishnadeva Raya was crowned, marking the beginning of the regeneration of the Vijayanagara Empire.

1576  The cornerstone for Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg observatory was laid on Hven.

1588  Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The naval engagement ended, ending the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England.

1647  Battle of Dungans Hill – English Parliamentary forces defeated Irish forces.

1709  Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the King of Portugal. 

1786  Mont Blanc was climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard.

1793 The insurrection of Lyon.

1794 Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver led an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

1870 The Republic of Ploieşti, a failed Radical-Liberal rising against Domnitor Carol of Romania. 

1876  Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph

1879 Bob Smith, American founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1950). 

1908 Wilbur Wright made his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans.

1910  The US Army installed the first tricycle landing gear on the Army’s Wright Flyer.

1911 The millionth patent was filed in the United States Patent Office by Francis Holton for a tubeless vehicle tire.

1915 The Wellington Battallion captured Chunuk Bair.

Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair

1918  Battle of Amiens began a string of almost continuous victories with a push through the German front lines (Hundred Days Offensive).

 

1929 Ronald Biggs, British Great Train robber, was born.

1929  The German airship Graf Zeppelin began a round-the-world flight.

1937 Dustin Hoffman, American actor, was born.

 

1940 The “Aufbau Ost” directive was signed by Wilhelm Keitel.

1942 In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs (Operation Pastorius) were executed.

1942  The Quit India resolution was passed by the Bombay session of the AICC, leading to the start of a civil disobedience movement across India. 

1945 The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and began the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation

1946  First flight of the Convair B-36.

1947 Pakistan’s National Flag was approved.

 

1949  Bhutan became independent.

1950 Ken Kutaragi, Founder of PlayStation, was born.

1961 The Edge, (Favid Evans) Irish guitarist (U2), was born.

1963 Great Train Robbery: a gang of 15 train robbers stole 2.6 million pounds in bank notes.

1967 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

1968 Jurō Wada successfully performed Japan’s first heart transplant.

1973 – Kim Dae-Jung, a South Korean politician and later president, was kidnapped.

1974  Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective the next day.

1980  The Central Hotel Fire, Bundoran , Ireland.

1988  The “8888 Uprising” in Burma. 

1989    STS-28 Mission – Space Shuttle Columbia took off on a secret five-day military mission. 

1990  Iraq occupied  Kuwait and the state was annexed to Iraq.

1991  The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapsed. 

1991  John McCarthy, British journalist held hostage in Lebanon for more than five years by Islamic Jihad, was released.

2000  Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor. 

2007 An EF2 tornado touched down in Kings County and Richmond County, New York State, the most powerful tornado in New York to date and the first in Brooklyn since 1889.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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