Word of the day


Anecdotard  – an old man given to telling tales.

Dishdrawers and jiff don’t mix


Public service announcement: Dishdrawers and jiff don’t mix.

The dishdrawer in our office has worked well since it was installed about nine years ago.

Today, for some reason best known to him, one of our staff put jiff where you’re supposed to put the dishwasher powder.

It didn’t work and now the dishdrawer doesn’t either.

The electrician is doing his best to fix it.

He said, with some degree of amazement in his tone, that this is the first time he’s come across this cause for a dishwasher disaster.

The staff member will be told that should he have the urge to put Jiff in the dishwasher again he should resist it.



7/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. By what name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu better known?

2. What are the symbols for sodium and potassium?

3. It’s gagner in French; vincere in Italian; ganar in Spanish and wini in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Moke Lake is close to which much larger lake?

5. Which of Lloyd Jones’ novels is being filmed in New Zealand at the moment and who is the actor who plays the main character?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four right.

Cadwallader got 4 1/2 (accepting that overcome in some contexts is close enough to win).

Adam got one, possibly for # 2.

Teletext gets an electronic batch of uffins for 5 right.

Answers follow the break:
Read the rest of this entry »

Almost half safest banks in Europe


If you only read headlines you could be excused for thinking the whole of Europe is about to go into financial meltdown.

But almost half the institutions on Global Finance’s list of the 50 safest banks are European and the commentary has more reassurance:

With more than 40 of the top 50 banks from last year once again making the list, the Global Finance ranking shows that most of the top echelon of banks are truly worthy of the moniker World’s Safest Bank.

Winners were selected through an evaluation of long-term credit ratings—from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch—and total assets of the 500 largest banks worldwide.

The list includes the four Australian banks which opponents of foreign investment crticise for owning trading banks in New Zealand.

The top 50 are:

1 KfW
26 United Overseas Bank
2 Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC)
27 Crédit Lyonnais
3 Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten (BNG)
28 Pohjola Bank(Finland)
4 Zürcher Kantonalbank
29 Credit Suisse Group(Switzerland)
5 Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank
30 BMO Financial Group
6 Rabobank Group(Netherlands) Tie*31 Cassa Depositi e Prestiti(Italy)
Tie*7 Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg – Förderbank
Tie*31 CIBC
Tie*7 Nederlandse Waterschapsbank(Netherlands) 32 Banco Español de Crédito (Banesto)(Spain)
8 Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État(Luxembourg) 33 Deutsche Bank(Germany)
9 NRW.Bank(Germany) 34 JPMorgan Chase(United States)
10 Banco Santander(Spain) 35 Société Générale(France)
11 Royal Bank of Canada(Canada) 36 Wells Fargo(United States)
Tie*12 National Australia Bank Limited(Australia) 37 Intesa Sanpaolo(Italy)
Tie*12 Commonwealth Bank of Australia(Australia) 38 China Development Bank(China)
13 Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)(Canada) Tie*39 Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel (BFCM)(France)
14 Westpac Banking Corporation(Australia) Tie*39 Landesbank Baden-Württemberg(Germany)
15 BNP Paribas(France) 40 U.S. Bancorp(United States)
16 HSBC Holdings(United Kingdom) 41 Nationwide Building Society(United Kingdom)
17 Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)(Spain) 42 Agricultural Development Bank of China(China)
Tie*18 Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia)(Canada) 43 Shizuoka Bank(Japan)
Tie*18 Australia and New Zealand Banking Group(Australia) 44 Northern Trust Corporation(United States)
19 DBS Bank(Singapore) 45 CoBank, ACB(United States)
20 Caisse centrale Desjardins(Canada) 46 National Bank of Abu Dhabi(United Arab Emirates)
21 Crédit Agricole(France) 47 National Bank of Kuwait(Kuwait)
22 Nordea Bank(Sweden) 48 Pictet & Cie(Switzerland)
23 Svenska Handelsbanken(Sweden) 49 Barclays Group(United Kingdom)
24 BNY Mellon(United States) 50 Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ(Japan)
25 Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation(Singapore)

*A tie is assigned when two banks with the same score have total assets withina $5 billion range.

Politics-free education requires professional approach


The Principal’s Federation wants some parts of the school system to be immune from political interference.

That call would be a lot more powerful if the Federation was dedicated to improving professional and educational standards rather than being more like a union that appears to be at least as interested in members’ pay, conditions and other employment and political issues.

They could take the lead from the medical workforce. The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists deals with employment issues and leaves professional matters to professional bodies like, for example, the College of GPs.

Principals and teachers would have far more standing if they took a more professional approach with a clear division between the organisations which deal with employment issues and those which deal with professional matters.


Culture change more important than law change


The government has accepted all 130 substantive changes that the Justice Select Committee made to the Alcohol Reform Bill.

Critics say that’s not going far enough.

But it doesn’t matter how far law changes go, a cultural change is what’s needed and that will take decades.

The anti-smoking message started more than 40 years ago.  It took at least 20 before it started being accepted that smoking was an unhealthy habit and smokers didn’t have a right to impose their habit on others.

Law changes and price rises helped. But the change in attitude of non-smokers who stopped tolerating smoke-filled air and smokers who realised it wasn’t a good habit and definitely wasn’t okay to smoke wherever they liked was at least as important.

Posters  saying Nosmo King is Cool were collectors’ items when I was  student (possibly as much for the cartoon character of a good looking bloke as the smoke-free message).

Nodrin King is cool doesn’t have quite the same ring and the message doesn’t have to be no drinking.

The ads that say it’s not the drinking it’s how we’re drinking are right, moderation rather than abstinence is what’s needed.

Alcohol has a place as a social lubricant and an accompaniment to food.

But drunkenness and the bad behaviour which some try to excuse because of it are far from cool.

Changes in law might go someway towards addressing some problems with alcohol. But ultimately it’s attitude changes not legislative ones that will get rid of our anti-social and immature drinking culture.


August 26 in history


1071  Battle of Manzikert: The Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantine Army at Manzikert.

1278 Ladislaus IV of Hungary and Rudolph I of Germany defeated Premysl Ottokar II of Bohemia in the Battle of Marchfield near Dürnkrut in (then) Moravia.

1346  Hundred Years’ War: the military supremacy of the English longbow over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights was established at the Battle of Crécy.

1498  Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pietà.

1676 Robert Walpole, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1745).

1768 The HM Bark Endeavour expedition under Captain James Cook set sail from England.

1778 The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia.

1789  Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen approved by National Assembly at Palace of Versailles.

1819 Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince Consort of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1861).

1858 First news dispatch by telegraph.

1862 American Civil War: the Second Battle of Bull Run began.

1865 Arthur James Arnot, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1946).

1875 John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, Scottish novelist, Governor General of Canada, was born (d. 1940).

1883 The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa began its final, paroxysmal, stage.

1894 The second Maori King, Tukaroto Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero Tawhiao, died.

Death of second Maori King

1898 Peggy Guggenheim, American art collector, was born (d. 1979).

1904 Christopher Isherwood, English-born writer, was born (d. 1986).

1906 Albert Sabin, American polio researcher, was born (d. 1993).

1910 Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winning Christian missionary, was born (d. 1997).

1914  World War I: the German colony of Togoland was invaded by French and British forces.

1920  The 19th amendment to United States Constitution took effect, giving women the right to vote.

1940 Chad was the first French colony to join the Allies under the administration of Félix Éboué, France’s first black colonial governor.

1942  Holocaust in Chortkiv, western Ukraine: At 2.30 am the German Schutzpolizei started driving Jews out of their houses, divided them into groups of 120, packed them in freight cars and deported 2000 to Belzec death camp; 500 of the sick and children weremurdered on the spot.

1944 World War II: Charles de Gaulle entered Paris.

1957 The USSR announced the successful test of an ICBM – a “super long distance intercontinental multistage ballistic rocket … a few days ago,” according to the Soviet news agency, ITAR-TASS.

1970  The then new feminist movement, led by Betty Friedan, led a nation-wide Women’s Strike for Equality.

1977  The Charter of the French Language was adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec

1978   Pope John Paul I was elected to the Papacy.

1978 – Sigmund Jähn became first German cosmonaut on board of the Soyuz 31 spacecraft.

1980  Macaulay Culkin, American actor, was born.

1982 David Long, New Zealand musician, was born.

1992 Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar signed agreement of split of Czechoslovakia in Brno.

1997  Beni-Ali massacre in Algeria; 60-100 people killed.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia

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