Word of the day


Dol –  unit for measuring the intensity of pain; acronym for dying of laughter.



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

Not on show at the show


The National Party has a tent at the Christchurch Show with several MPs every year.

They’ve been out in force this week and getting a very good reception.

Other parties turn up in election year. I passed Annette King and Ruth Dyson this morning but neither had rosettes or anything else to identify them with Labour.

What’s the point of showing up if they’re not prepared to be on show?

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Equality and development will not be achieved however if peace is not
understood from women’s’ point of view.”?

2. What is a clackamore?

3. It’s  paix in French, pace in Italian, paz in Spanish and   houhanga a rongo in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Complete the sentence: Dulce et Decorum est . . .  and name the poet who wrote it.

5. What is the greatest distance from the sea you can be in New Zealand?

Points for answers:

Andrei got two.

Lofty wins an electronic box of North Otago new potatoes with four.

James got two and a near enough for #5.

Adam got a half-way there for #5.

Grant got one and two near enoughs for #s 3 and 5.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

11 on11.11.11


It’s Armistace Day when we am mark the end of World War I at 11:00 to honor all who served and remember those who died.

The date has extra significance today because it’s not just the 11th day of the 11th month, it’s also the 11th year.

Entitleitis watch


“It’s not easy to live on a pension,” she said.

“Just you try stretching it to cover yourself, your family, the church and a holiday home. You can’t do it”

I was working out how to treat this extraordinary case of entitleitis when another listener stepped in:

“It was never designed for that,” she said.


Those who can do . . .


Quote of the day:

…a 2006 study showed there’s only one group of people who say meetings enhance their wellbeing – those who score low on “accomplishment striving”. In other words: people who enjoy meetings are those who don’t like getting things done.Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Those who can do, those who can’t meet.

What about the workers?


The Labour Party is supposed to be the workers’ party.

Their definition generally means people in blue collar and low skilled jobs rather than in higher skilled and white collar ones; and those who work for someone else, rather than themselves.

Many of the policies they’re putting forward for this election contradict that.

They are for unions and beneficiaries.

They are not for the people who work to pay the taxes to fund the policies which threaten their jobs and the wider economy.

Workers need secure, well-paid jobs. That requires policies which make it easier, less expensive and less risky to employ people. It also needs a growing economy.

Workers need to know they are better off in work than on benefits.

Labour’s policies do the opposite – they would increase the difficulty, costs and risk or employing staff, put a hand brake on growth and disincentivise work through big increases to benefits.

Labour might say it is for the workers but its rhetoric isn’t reflected in its policies.

November 11 in history


1215 – The Fourth Lateran Council met, defining the doctrine of transubstantiation, the process by which bread and wine are, by that doctrine, said to transform into the body and blood of Christ.

1500 – Treaty of Granada – Louis XII of France and Ferdinand II of Aragon agree to divide the Kingdom of Naples between them.

1620 – The Mayflower Compact was signed in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod.

1634 – Following pressure from Anglican bishop John Atherton, the Irish House of Commons passed An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery.

1673 – Second Battle of Khotyn in Ukraine: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under the command of Jan Sobieski defeated the Ottoman army. In this battle, rockets made by Kazimierz Siemienowicz were successfully used.

1675 – Gottfried Leibniz demonstrated integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x).

1724 – Joseph Blake, alias Blueskin, a highwayman was hanged.

1778 – Cherry Valley Massacre: Loyalists and Seneca Indian forces attacked a fort and village in eastern New York killing more than forty civilians and soldiers.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Dürenstein – 8000 French troops attempted to slow the retreat of a vastly superior Russian and Austrian force.

1813 – War of 1812: Battle of Crysler’s Farm – British and Canadian forces defeated a larger American force, causing the Americans to abandon their Saint Lawrence campaign.

1839 – The Virginia Military Institute was founded in Lexington.

1854 – The Ballarat Reform League Charter adopted “At a Meeting held on Bakery Hill in the presence of about ten thousand men”

1864 – American Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea – Union General William Tecumseh Sherman began burning Atlanta, Georgia to the ground in preparation for his march south.

1865 – Treaty of Sinchula was signed: Bhutan ceded areas east of the Teesta River to the British East India Company.

1869 – The Victorian Aboriginal Protection Act was enacted, giving the government control of indigenous people’s wages, their terms of employment, where they could live, and of their children, effectively leading to the Stolen Generations.

1880 – Australian bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Gaol.

1887 – Anarchist Haymarket Martyrs August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer and George Engel were executed.

1887 – Construction of the Manchester Ship Canal began at Eastham.

1889 – Washington was admitted as the 42nd U.S. state.

1911 – Many cities in the Midwestern United States broke their record highs and lows on the same day as a strong cold front rolled through.

1918 – The signing of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany was celebrated in many cities and towns around New Zealand. Enthusiasm was dampened, though, by the ongoing impact of the influenza pandemic then ravaging the country. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiègne in France. The war officially ended at 11:00 (The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month).

1918 – Józef Piłsudski came to Warsaw and assumed supreme military power in Poland. Poland regained its independence.

1918 – Emperor Charles I of Austria relinquished power.

1919 – The Centralia Massacre resulted in the deaths of four members of the American Legion and the lynching of a local leader of the Industrial Workers of the World.

1919 – Lāčplēša day – Latvian forces defeated the Freikorps at Riga in the Latvian War of Independence.

1921 – The Tomb of the Unknowns was dedicated by US President Warren G. Harding at Arlington National Cemetery.

1922 Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist, was born (d. 2007).

1924 – Prime Minister Alexandros Papanastasiou proclaimed the first recognized Greek Republic.

1926 – U.S. Route 66 was established.

1928 Carlos Fuentes, Mexican writer, was born.

1930 – Patent number US1781541 was awarded to Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd for their invention, the Einstein refrigerator.

1934 – The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne was opened.

1940 – Battle of Taranto – The Royal Navy launched the first aircraft carrier strike in history, on the Italian fleet at Taranto.

1940 – The German cruiser Atlantis captured top secret British mail, and sent it to Japan.

1940 – Armistice Day Blizzard: An unexpected blizzard killed 144 in the U.S. Midwest.

1942 Trans tasman liner Awatea was attacked by swarms of German and Italian bombers. Although its gunners shot down several planes, the Awatea was set on fire and holed by torpedoes. Remarkably, everyone on board got off safely (except for the ship’s cat, which was apparently killed by a bomb blast).

<img src=”http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/files/images/awatea-rescue-event.preview.jpg&#8221; alt=”Troop ship Awatea goes down fighting” />

1944 – Dr. jur. Erich Göstl, a member of the Waffen SS, was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, to recognise extreme battlefield bravery, after losing his face and eyes during the Battle of Normandy.

1945 Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, was born.

Chris Dreja, British musician (The Yardbirds), was born.

1960 – A military coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam was crushed.

1962 – Kuwait’s National Assembly ratified the Constitution of Kuwait.

1962 – Demi Moore, American actress, was born.

1965 – In Rhodesia (mpw Zimbabwe), the white-minority government of Ian Smith unilaterally declared independence.

1966 – NASA launched Gemini 12.

1968 – Vietnam War: Operation Commando Hunt initiated.

1968 – A second republic was declared in the Maldives.

1974 Leonardo DiCaprio, American actor, was born.

1975 – Australian constitutional crisis of 1975: Australian Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed the government of Gough Whitlam, appointed Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister and announced a general election to be held in early December.

1992 – The General Synod of the Church of England voted to allow women to become priests.

1999 – The House of Lords Act was given Royal Assent, restricting membership of the British House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.

2000 – In Kaprun, Austria, 155 skiers and snowboarders died when a cable car caught fire in an alpine tunnel.

2001 – Journalists Pierre Billaud, Johanne Sutton and Volker Handloik were killed in Afghanistan during an attack on the convoy they are traveling in.

2004 – New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was dedicated at the National War Memorial, Wellington.

2004 – The Palestine Liberation Organization confirmed the death of Yasser Arafat from unidentified causes. Mahmoud Abbas was elected chairman of the PLO minutes later.

2006 – Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the New Zealand War Memorial in London, commemorating the loss of soldiers from the New Zealand and British Armies.

2008 – The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) set sail on her final voyage to Dubai.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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