Word of the day


Ecdemomania – morbid impulse or obsession to travel; compulsive wandering.



5/10 in the Herald’s entertainment quiz – all but one of which (Dorothy’s pet) was a guess.

Playing for money


Can you explain this?:

During a high stakes poker competition preceded by a sit-down dinner, Dick, Tom, Harry and Fred played together. At the end of the evening, all four had more cash than when they arrived. In other words, none of them lost although they were playing for money.

The question came from Richard Wiseman’s blog and you’ll get the answer there.

Let Super Fund buy Landcorp farms


The NBR reports that the New Zealand Superannuation Fund is on a farm buying spree:

Since February the Super Fund has  bought eight farms with a combined value of about $60 million, with four in the North Island and four in the South . . .

. . . Up to 3% of the $19 billion fund or about $500 million could be allocated as part of its rural land strategy although there was no compulsion to invest all the money if the right opportunities did not exist . . .

There’s a way to create some right opportunities and that’s by putting Landcorp farms on the market, and I mean the farms rather than the company.

The government doesn’t need to be a farmer but I don’t think Landcorp should be one of the SOEs put up for partial sale.

Instead, the properties it owns should be sold off in a gradual and orderly manner.

There’s already a willing buyer for some of its property in the Super Fund.

Be careful what you vote for


The Dominion Post offers a warning to Labour supporters who are considering voting for the Greens:

Many of the Greens’ aims will appeal to disillusioned Labour voters looking for a new home, such as lifting 100,000 children out of poverty and tackling unemployment by creating “green jobs”. The issue in an election, however, is not what a party states as its goals, but how it hopes to achieve them. New Zealanders are lucky to live in a country where they get to choose who governs them. Those who have that privilege, denied to so many others, should use it to vote for what they agree with. Traditional Labour voters may well find good cause to vote Green this time, but they should do so because they want the Greens’ policies, not because they think Labour will lose.

Some of the increased support for the Greens will be from people who agree with what they stand for.

But some will be from people who have given up on Labour and are looking for an alternative.

In 2002 people who decided that National couldn’t win cast votes for the wee parties – Act, whatever United Future was called then and New Zealand First. Two of them went into government and all three lost most of those votes at the next election.

If, as the polls suggest, National forms the next government, the Green Party is more likely to stay in opposition or play a minor role in government.

Whatever it does, people who give it their votes not because they agree with it but because they’re disenchanted with Labour, risk a result they won’t like.

Casting a vote intelligently requires looking past the feel-good ideas to what a party really stands for and what that will do for and to the country.

Influencing a party also requires more than casting a vote against it.

Real influence comes from active support and engagement through good times and bad and working to ensure you’re able to vote for a party with which you agree.

Death of a legend


Timaru financier Allan Hubbard has died after sustaining serious injuries in a car crash.

Had it happened a couple of years ago he’d have died a hero for the contributions he made to business and philanthropy.

He had been a legend for positive reasons but became became equally legendary for negative ones.

He died with serious fraud charges hanging over him and equally serious questions about his business and charitable dealings unanswered.

September 3 in history


36 BC  In the Battle of Naulochus, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, admiral of Octavian, defeated Sextus Pompeius, son of Pompey, thus ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate.

301 San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Saint Marinus.

590  Consecration of Pope Gregory the Great.

863  Major Byzantine victory at the Battle of Lalakaon against an Arab raid. 

1189  Richard I of England (Richard “the Lionheart”) was crowned at Westminster.

1260  The Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire.

1650  Third English Civil War: Battle of Dunbar.

1651  Third English Civil War: Battle of Worcester – Charles II of England was defeated in the last main battle of the war.

1666  The Royal Exchange burned down in the Great Fire of London

1777  Cooch’s Bridge – Skirmish of American Revolutionary War in New Castle County, Delaware where the Flag of the United States was flown in battle for the first time.

1783  American Revolutionary War: The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by the United States and Great Britain. 

1798  The week long battle of St. George’s Caye began between Spanish and British off the coast of Belize.

1802 William Wordsworth composed the sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge

1803  English scientist John Dalton began using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements.

1812  24 settlers were killed in the Pigeon Roost Massacre

1838  Dressed in a sailor’s uniform and carrying identification papers provided by a Free Black seaman, future abolitionist Frederick Douglass boarded a train in Maryland on his way to freedom from slavery.

1870 Franco-Prussian War: the Siege of Metz began.

1878 More than 640 died when the crowded pleasure boat Princess Alice collided with the Bywell Castle in the River Thames. 

1914  William, Prince of Albania left the country after just six months due to opposition to his rule.

1933 Yevgeniy Abalakov reached the highest point of the Soviet Union – Communism Peak (7495 m).

1935  Sir Malcolm Campbell reached speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive a car over 300 mph.

1939  World War II: France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, forming the Allies. In contrast to its entry into the First World War, New Zealand acted in its own right.

New Zealand declares war on Germany

1940 Pauline Collins, English actress, was born.

1941 Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experimented with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.

1942 Al Jardine, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born.


1942  World War II: In response to news of its coming liquidation, Dov Lopatyn led an uprising in the Lakhva Ghetto.

1944  Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family were placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz.

1945 – Three-day celebration was held in China, following the Victory over Japan Day on September 2.

1947 Eric Bell, Irish guitarist (Thin Lizzy), was born.

1950 “Nino” Farina became the first Formula One Drivers’ champion after winning the 1950 Italian Grand Prix.

1951 The first long-running American television soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, aired its first episode on the CBS network.

1955 Steve Jones, English musician (Sex Pistols), was born.

1958 Pioneering heart surgeon Brian Barratt-Boyes performed New Zealand’s first open heart  surgery using a heart-lung bypass machine.

First open-heart surgery in NZ

1967  Dagen H in Sweden: traffic changed from driving on the left to driving on the right overnight. 

1971 Qatar became an independent state.

1976 The Viking 2 spacecraft landed at Utopia Planitia on Mars.


1987  In a coup d’état in Burundi, President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed by Major Pierre Buyoya.

1994 Sino-Soviet Split: Russia and the People’s Republic of China agreed to de-target their nuclear weapons against each other. 

1997 A Vietnam Airlines Tupolev TU-134 crashed on approach into Phnom Penh airport, killing 64.

1999  87-automobile pile-up on Highway 401 freeway just east of Windsor, Ontario, after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair.

2004  Beslan school hostage crisis: Day 3: The Beslan hostage crisis ended with the deaths of morethan 300 people, more than half of whom were children. 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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