Away and home


I left home this morning to go to a funeral in Alexandra and went straight to Rotary’s meeting on the referendum when I got back.

This is my first opportunity to check comments. I don’t have time to respond properly but I did enjoy the discussion, thanks.

Word of the day


Incohate – not yet completed or fully developed;  in an initial or early stage; just begun; ; imperfectly formed or developed; formless; rudimentary; incipient; incoherent;  not organised; lacking order.

Scoring on the blokeometer


The Dominion Post asked John Key and Phil Goff 11 questions to see where they fit on the blokeometer.

The questions were:

1. What would you do if the hotel laundry lost your underwear and you have none clean?

2. Have you ever thrown a punch?

3. Who drives, who reads the map?

4. Have you ever done a yard glass?

5. What song do you sing in the bath?

6. Have you ever shot a living creature?

7. What’s your best wilderness SAS survival tip?

8. What’s your best barbeque recipe secret?

9. Can you change a tyre?

10. Do you tell your wife you hate her hair cut?

11. Tui or Otago Pinot Noir?

Passing quickly over what the answers to these questions say about being a bloke and that given it’s a blokeometer such a test isn’t meant for me, my answers are:

1. I’ve never sent underwear to a laundry. I usually wash it myself as I travel and always have plenty to spare.

2. Not that I can remember (though my brothers might remember differently).

3. My farmer and I share both driving and map reading. I claim superior navigation skills to his though he would debate that.

4. No. See # 11.

5. I can’t remember when I last had a bath nor do ever singing in it. I sometimes sing in the shower, though don’t have a particular song.

7. Stay warm and if you’re lost stay put.

8. From Argentina where their wood-fired parillas  will out do any of our gas barbeques – slow cook meat over embers and turn it only once.

9. Yes. When I was learning to drive I got my father to teach me how to change a tyre and I’ve had to do it several times. The tricky part is undoing tightly screwed bolts but I’ve found jumping (gently) on the end of the wrench usually works.

10. Substituting husband for wife, no.

11. Pinot Noir. I’ve yet to develop a taste for beer and have never had more than a sip. I blame it on picking hops when I was in England but I didn’t like beer before that either.



MMP campaigner Philip Temple has found 20 writers who support that electoral system:

As support continues to grow for keeping MMP in the referendum on November 26, a group of top New Zealand writers have added their voice to the campaign.

Author Philip Temple, a spokesperson for the Keep MMP Campaign, says “It is brilliant that so many of our best known and loved authors have been willing to support the campaign to keep MMP. . .”

Twenty writers, 21 if you count Temple too, support MMP – so?

They are entitled to their view and to campaign in support of it but 21 writers supporting MMP is no more than a media opportunity, whether or not they’re best known and loved.

It probably wouldn’t be hard to find 21 people in any other occupation group across the country who support that electoral system nor to find a group of 21 who don’t.

They might not be so well known as the writers but being well known doesn’t make their opinions on the electoral system any more valid than those of people who aren’t public names or faces.

MMP, like all the alternative systems from which we’ll be able to choose in the referendum, is not perfect. There are valid arguments for and against it and the other four – First Past the Post, Preferential Vote,  Single Transferable Vote and Supplementary Member.

Finding 21 people who happen to do the same thing in support of or against one of them doesn’t make it any better or worse and is neither an argument for or against supporting a particular option.

Voters should be considering how each system works and which is more likely to give them the sort of government they want, not whether or not a system has a fan club of people from this occupation group or that.

I will be voting for change because MMP’s shortcomings outweigh its advantages for me and “celebrity” endorsement of that system isn’t going to make it any better.

Opinion and fact


Quote of the day:

One is entitled to one’s opinion but not one’s own facts.” – Richard Walls (from the obituary in the ODT’s print edition).

Green launch fails politics 101


A campaign launch should profile the party, its policies, it leader/s and caucus.

The Green Party launch failed this because the MC forgot she was there to facilitate and became the “star”.

Mind you it might have been a deliberate ploy to distract us from the Green policies. If they get too much attention people will realise that the Greens out-red Labour.

If those two are in government together there will be higher taxes, more debt, less growth, fewer jobs and contrary to the Green Party slogan we’ll have a poorer New Zealand.

Labour gives farmers yet another reason to vote National


Labour’s high country, agricultural and water policies gave farmers plenty of reasons to vote National.

Federated Farmers water spokesman  Ian Mackenzie, called them a hat trick of ill-conceived policies and he was right.

And now they’ve added a fourth – they’re going to start taxing animal emissions through the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2013.

Labour’s environment spokesperson Charles Chauvel says it is wrong that agriculture has been excluded from the Emissions Trading Scheme.

He admits it won’t be a popular policy with farmers, but says it is time the sector bore some of the costs of the ETS.

Just like they mistakenly think we don’t pay tax, they obviously don’t think we use power or fuel, both of which are subject to ETS surcharges.

What we don’t pay is a tax on animal emissions because there is very little, if anything, which we can do to lower them.

Farmers are paying for research into ways in which animal emissions could be reduced. But until this research results in practical and affordable ways for us to stop animals burping and farting any ETS charges are just another tax which will add to our costs without doing any good.

National has confirmed that it will not commit to bringing animal emissions into the ETS until our trading partners do it too.

It won’t be imposing the tens of thousands of dollars on each farm that Labour is through its capital gains tax, ACC levies, increase in the minimum wage and other added costs its 1970s employment policies will impose either.

November 7 in history


680 The Sixth Ecumenical Council commenced in Constantinople.

1492 The Ensisheim Meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, struck the earth in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, France.

1619 Elizabeth of Scotland and England was crowned Queen of Bohemia.

1665 The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, was first published. 

1728 Captain James Cook, British naval officer, explorer, and cartographer, was born (d 1779).

1775 John Murray, the Royal Governor of the Colony of Virginia, started the first mass emancipation of slaves in North America by issuing Lord Dunmore’s Offer of Emancipation, which offered freedom to slaves who abandoned their colonial masters in order to fight with Murray and the British.

1786 The oldest musical organisation in the United States was founded as the Stoughton Musical Society.

1811 Tecumseh’s War: The Battle of Tippecanoe.

1837 Abolitionist printer Elijah P. Lovejoy was shot dead by a mob while attempting to protect his printing shop from being destroyed a third time.


1848 The paddle steamer Acheron arrived to being surveying New Zealand waters.

<img src=”; alt=”The Acheron arrives to begin survey of NZ waters ” />

1861 American Civil War: Battle of Belmont: Forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant overran a Confederate camp but were forced to retreat when Confederate reinforcements arrive.

1867 Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Polish chemist and physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics and in chemistry, was born (d 1934).

1872 The ship Mary Celeste sailed from New York.

1874 A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly, is considered the first important use of an elephant as a symbol for the United States Republican Party.

1879 Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, was born (d 1940).

1885 Construction ended on the Canadian Pacific Railway railway extending across Canada.

1893 Women in the U.S. state of Colorado were granted the right to vote.

1900 Battle of Leliefontein, a battle during which the Royal Canadian Dragoons won three Victoria Crosses.

1907 Jesús García saved the entire town of Nacozari de Garcia, Sonora by driving a burning train full of dynamitesix kilometers away before it could explode.

1908 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were reportedly killed in San Vicente, Bolivia.

1910 The first air freight shipment was undertaken by the Wright Brothers and department store owner Max Moorehouse.

1912 The Deutsche Opernhaus (now Deutsche Oper Berlin) opened in Berlin with a production of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1913 Albert Camus, French writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d 1960).

1914 The first issue of The New Republic magazine was published.

1914 – The German colony of Kiaochow Bay and its centre at Tsingtao were captured by Japanese forces.

1916 Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the United States Congress.

1917 The Gregorian calendar date of the October Revolution, which got its name from the Julian calendar date of 25 October – the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace.

1917 World War I: Third Battle of Gaza ended: British forces captured Gaza from the Ottoman Empire.

1918 The 1918 influenza epidemic spread to Western Samoa, killing 7,542 (about 20% of the population) by the end of the year.

1918 Kurt Eisner overthrew the Wittelsbach dynasty in the Kingdom of Bavaria.

1918 Billy Graham, American evangelist was born.

1919 The first Palmer Raid was conducted on the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution. More than 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists were arrested in twenty-three different U.S. cities.

1920 Patriarch Tikhon issued a decree that lead to the formation of Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

1921 The Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF), National Fascist Party, comes into existence.


1926 Dame Joan Sutherland, Australian operatic soprano, was born (d 2010).

1929 The Museum of Modern Art in New York opened to the public.

1931 The Chinese Soviet Republic was proclaimed on the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

1940 The original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in a windstorm, just four months after the bridge’s completion.

1941 Soviet hospital ship Armenia was sunk by German planes while evacuating refugees and wounded military and staff of several Crimea’s hospitals – killing more than 5,000 people.

1943 Joni Mitchell, Canadian musician, was born.

1944 A passenger train derailed in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico from excessive speed when descending a hill. 16 people were killed and 50 injured.

1944 Soviet spy Richard Sorge, a half-Russian, half-German World War I veteran, and 34 of his spy-ring, were hanged by his Japanese captors.

1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt elected for a record fourth term as President of the United States of America.

1963 Wunder von Lengede: Eleven miners were rescued from a collapsed mine after 14 days.

1967 Carl B. Stokes was elected as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the first African American mayor of a major American city.

1970 Long-haired Christchurch mountaineers John Glasgow and Peter Gough became the first to successfully scale the 2000-metre Caroline Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook, declaring it a ‘triumph for the hippies’.

Aoraki/Mt Cook route conquered by hippies

1975 In Bangladesh a joint force of people and soldiers took part in an uprising hailed as National Revolution and Solidarity Day, led by Col. Abu Taher that ousted and killed Brig. Khaled Mosharraf.

1983 United States Senate bombing: a bomb exploded inside the United States Capitol.

1987 In Tunisia, president Habib Bourguiba was overthrown and replaced by Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

1989 Douglas Wilder won the governor’s seat in Virginia, becoming the first elected African American governor in the United States.

1989 David Dinkins became the first African American mayor of New York City.

1989 – East German Prime Minister Willi Stoph and his cabinet were forced to resign after huge anti-government protests.

1990 Mary Robinson became the first woman to be elected President of the Republic of Ireland.

1991 Magic Johnson announced that he was infected with HIV and retired from the NBA.

1994 WXYC, the student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provided the world’s first internet radio broadcast.

1996 NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor.

2000Hillary Rodham Clinton ws elected to the United States Senate, becoming the first former First Lady to win public office in the United States.

2000 – Controversial US presidential election that is later resolved in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case.

2002 Iran baneds advertising of United States products.

2004 War in Iraq: The interim government of Iraq calls for a 60-day “state of emergency” as U.S. forces storm the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

2006 Chicago O’Hare UFO sighting

2007 Jokela school shooting in Tuusula, Finland, resulted in the death of nine people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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