Word of the day


Polyphloisboian –  making a loud racket or terrible noise.

Retro mail with modern twist


Today’s chat with Jim Mora on Critical Mass began with a look at a modern twist on old methods of mail with a modern twist.

Snail mail my email is an interactive art project which:

 . . . seeks to both share the warm-fuzzy feeling of receiving a personalized letter as well as inspire people to send their own snail mail. Anyone with internet access can partake by simply sending an email, after which the very same message will be handwritten and physically mailed to the chosen recipient anywhere in the world, completely free of charge.

Hat Tip for that to Bel at Craft is the New Black

Telegram Stop – (which I blogged on a couple of weeks ago) is a 21st century attempt to bring back the romance and excitement of telegrams.

Apropos of that Jim had found ten famous telegrams.

Moving from written communication to oral we finished with why it’s smart to be bilingual.

Claytons campaigning for electorate vote


Remember the sanctimonious comments about National and Act doing post-election deals over some electorates?

The Greens aren’t going that far in Waitaki but their candidate, Sue Coutts,  has made it clear she’s running a Clayton’s campaign for the electorate vote:

The focus for all Greens candidates was getting support for the party vote, Mrs Coutts said. “Getting the party vote is the way the party is going to get ahead.” Winning the electorate was not the priority “this time around”.

Getting the party vote is the way every party will get ahead becuase, as we were reminded yet again at National’s conference last weekend, it’s the party vote that counts.

However, while winning seats doesn’t help a part get into government, it is still something that National takes seriously.

Labour is still trying to win city seats but like the wee parties, it’s making little effort in most provincial seats and in Waitaki it too appears to be running a Clayton’s campaign.

Jacqui Dean comprehensively won the seat for National at the last election and is working very hard to earn the electorate’s support in this one.

iPredict gives her a 92.5% probability of doing that in contrast to a .5% chance for the Labour candidate and .1% for any other candidate.

They should never have called it global warming


We went to bed with snow blanketing the garden and paddocks as far as we could see.

We woke up to rain, hail, sleet and icy tracks.

We were among the 1,700 farms which had to dump milk yesterday because the tank couldn’t get through and it might not get to us again today.

We don’t expect snow in the North Otago downlands this far through August, but it does happen now and then. It is far from normal in many other places such as Auckland where it last snowed 72 years ago.

The polar blast might or might not be able to be blamed on climate change. But they should never have called it global warming when this sort of weather feels like not just cooling but colding.

Is Labour out-greening the Greens?


Labour Leader Phil Goff was given points for turning up to Federated Farmers’ conference in a column in Feds’ Farm Review (not online) but the columnist wasn’t impressed with his message:

It doesn’t warm the belly that farmers will be ramrodded into the ETS to pay for R&D to research ‘cultural capital’. Goff has ripped the gust from any pretence the ETS is about efficient resource use because if farmers get better then ETS funded R&D collapses.

Any payments taken under the ETS not used to reduce emissions are merely another tax.

Labour’s ‘jump to the left’ increasingly resembles an essay by a first year political studies student. A capital gains tax on farms, repeal of the 90-days and GST free fruit and veg may appeal to the unions and the indolent, but not to the go-getters this economy needs. Then again Labour is electorally desperate.

Expect a land tax and crippling policies on the environment as Labour out-greens the Greens. It says a lot that Russel Norman was more warming received by farmers than Goff.

The Green Party has always out-redded Labour.

Perhaps Labour thinks there’s votes to be gained in out-greening the Greens.

What’s fair about long term dependency?


It’s not fair is the plaintive wail of children who don’t get their way and it’s also one of the criticisms of National’s policy to help keep young people from long term benefit dependence.

These are not adults equipped to make sensible choices and able to look after themselves.

They are among our most vulnerable teenagers.

Almost all  of them come from disadvantaged homes, some of them are caring for children of their own with little if any emotional or moral support. If no-one helps the parents the children will be disadvantaged too.

What’s better? Helping them get the skills they need to look after themselves and be independent or abandoning them to long term dependency?

It’s not fair that their families don’t care, it is fair that we do something about it.

This isn’t a short term money-saving measure. It will initially cost more but like a good investment the payoff will come later with social and economic dividends from those saved from long term dependency.

August 16 in history


1513  Battle of Guinegate (Battle of the Spurs) – King Henry VIII of England defeated French Forces.

1777  American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark routed British and Brunswick troops under Friedrich Baum at the Battle of Bennington

1780 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Camden – The British defeated the Americans.


1792  Maximilien Robespierre presented the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demanded the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.

1819  Seventeen people died and more than 600 were injured by cavalry charges at the Peterloo Massacre at a public meeting at St. Peter’s Field, Manchester.

1841  U.S. President John Tyler vetoed a bill which called for the re-establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. Enraged Whig Party members riot outside the White House in the most violent demonstration on White House grounds in U.S. history.

1858 U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurated the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria. 

1859  The Tuscan National Assembly formally deposed the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

1865  Restoration Day in the Dominican Republic which regained its independence after 4 years of fighting against Spanish Annexation.

1868  Arica, Peru (now Chile) was devastated by a tsunami which followed a magnitude 8.5 earthquake in the Peru-Chile Trench off the coast. An estimated 25,000 people in Arica and perhaps 70,000 people in all were killed.

1869  Battle of Acosta Ñu: A Paraguay battalion made up of children was massacred by the Brazilian Army during the War of the Triple Alliance.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: The Battle of Mars-La-Tour reulted in a Prussian victory.

1888 T. E. Lawrence, English writer and soldier, was born (d. 1935).


1896 Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmackn and Dawson Charlie discovered gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush

1902 Georgette Heyer, English novelist, was born (d. 1974).


1913  Tōhoku Imperial University of Japan (modern day Tōhoku University) admitted its first female students.


1913 Menachem Begin, 6th Prime Minister of Israel, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1992).

1913 – Completion of the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary.


1914  World War I: Battle of Cer began.

1920  Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was hit in the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day.


1920 – The congress of the Communist Party of Bukhara opened.

1929  The 1929 Palestine riots in the British Mandate of Palestine between Arabs and Jews. 

1930 The first colour sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, was made by Ub Iwerks.

1940 Bruce Beresford, Australian film director, was born.

1940  World War II: The Communist Party was banned in German-occupied Norway.


1941  HMS Mercury, Royal Navy Signals School and Combined Signals School opened at Leydene, near Petersfield, Hampshire, England.


1942  World War II: The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappeared on a routine anti-submarine patrol over the Pacific Ocean.

1944 Council of Organisations for Relief Service Overseas (CORSO) was formed.

CORSO formed

1944  First flight of the Junkers Ju 287

1945  An assassination attempt on Japan’s prime minister, Kantaro Suzuki.

1945 – Puyi, the last Chinese emperor and ruler of Manchukuo, was captured by Soviet troops.

1954  The first edition of Sports Illustrated was published.


1957 Tim Farriss, Australian musician (INXS), was born. 

1960  Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1960  Joseph Kittinger parachuted from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,330 m), setting three record: High-altitude jump, free-fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft. 

1962 Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) as drummer for The Beatles.


1964  Vietnam War: A coup d’état replaced Duong Van Minh with General Nguyen Khanh as President of South Vietnam.

1966 Vietnam War: The House Un-American Activities Committee began investigations of Americans who aided the Viet Cong. 

1972 Emily Robison, American country singer (Dixie Chicks), was born.

1972 The Royal Moroccan Air Force fired on, Hassan II of Morocco‘s plane.

1987 A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 carrying Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed on take-off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan, killing 155 passengers and crew. The sole survivor was four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.

1989  A solar flare created a geomagnetic storm that affected micro chips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto’s stock market. 

1992  In response to an appeal by President Fernando Collor de Mello to wear green and yellow as a way to show support for him, thousands of Brazilians took to the streets dressed in black.

2005  West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 crashed near Machiques, Venezuela, killing the 160 aboard.

 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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