Word of the day


Phew  –  exclamation of relief, surprise, disbelief, weariness.



5/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Keep calm and . . .


The Canterbury earthquakes generated a lot of merchandise with the slogan Keep Calm and Carry On.

You can generate your own Keep Calm poster with the Keep Calm-O-Matic.

The blue green is the fault of my printer rather than a political statement, though The Bluegreens have much to recommend them.

What a pity it’s too late for the election 🙂

Hat Tip Larvatus Prodeo

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”?

2. It’s patron in French, capo in Italian,  jefe in Spanish and pāhi in Maori, what is it in English?

3. What is antanaclasis?

4. Timbuktu  is in which country?

5. Who was the Prime Minister of Japan who was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbour?

Points for answers:

Andrei gets an electronic bunch of asparagus for a clean sweep and a bonus for the example. (Given my spelling is wobbly I’m not going to worry about yours).

GD gets three with a bonus for extra information.

Colin gets one for satire.

PDM gets three and a bonus for provoking a smile with #1.

Adam gets three.

Grant gets three and a sort of, in that it’s a word play for # 3.

Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »



10/20 in Stuff’s quiz on the Labour leadership contenders.

More debt wrong direction


Another quote of the day from Trans Tasman:

Labour’s leadership contest has provided a veneer of hope to those who believe a new face at the top will work wonders for the popularity of the party. But it’s thin gruel to those who know the crushing defeat on November 26 stemmed not only from leadership which could not come within cooee of the popularity of the incumbent Govt, but from policy which lacked credibility in dealing with NZ’s debt problem. The leadership contest has exposed deep divisions within the caucus, and without a broad debate first on the direction the party should take, it is unlikely those divisions will be easily healed.

For all Labour MPs talked about the problem of too much debt, their policies would have added to it and nothing from any of the leadership contenders shows a willingness to spend less.

Heading towards more debt is heading in the wrong direction.

Petulance is never pretty


Quote of the day:

The hysterical over-reaction to the charter idea tells you a lot about those who claim to speak for the country’s educationalists, and it’s not pretty.  The fact  so many of the country’s school leavers are not equipped to read a bus timetable or do basic maths has been a national scandal for 30 years. Govts on both sides have paid lip service while wringing their hands, as have the teacher unions, but nothing has changed. The use of bogeymen shows nothing more than a petulant determination to avoid addressing substantive issues. Trans Tasman

One of the frustrations of employing young people is their lack of numeracy and literacy.

Working as a shed hand on a dairy farm doesn’t require high standards of reading, writing and maths but it does require a familiarity with a bit more than the basics and too often those who turn up looking for work haven’t got that.

The reasons for educational failure are complex but having one in five school-leavers unable to cope with words and numbers sufficiently to hold down a job is a national disgrace.

Charter schools won’t be the answer for all, but as the Dominion Post says:

 . . . If  children who are failing can be helped to succeed by a different prescription – think kura kaupapa or Rudolf Steiner, for example – the trial is worth conducting to see what can be learned from it.

People involved in or interested in education, should understand the value of a differnt way of  learning, especially when it could help those children who, for a myriad of reasons, aren’t learning enough in conventional schools.

December 9 in history


536 – Byzantine General Belisarius entered Rome while the Ostrogothic garrison peacefully left the city, returning the old capital to its empire.

730 – Battle of Marj Ardabil: the Khazars annihilated an Umayyad army and killed its commander, al-Djarrah ibn Abdullah.

1425 – The Catholic University of Leuven was founded.

1531 – The Virgin of Guadalupe first appeared to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico City.

1608  John Milton, English poet, was born (d. 1674).

1787 John Dobson, English architect, was born  (d. 1865).

1793 – New York City’s first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, was established by Noah Webster.

1824 – Patriot forces led by General Antonio José de Sucre defeated a Royalist army in the Battle of Ayacucho, ending the Peruvian War of Independence.

1851 – The first YMCA in North America was established in Montreal, Quebec.

1872 – In Louisiana, P. B. S. Pinchback became the first serving African-American governor of a U.S. state.

1886 Clarence Birdseye, American frozen food manufacturer, was born (d. 1956).

1888 – Statistician Herman Hollerith installed his computing device at the United States War Department.

1897 Activist Marguerite Durand founded the feminist daily newspaper, La Fronde, in Paris.

1899 New Zealand troops fired their first shots in the South African war.

NZ troops fire first shots during South African War

1902  Margaret Hamilton, American actress, was born (d. 1985).

1905 In France, the law separating church and state was passed.

1916 – Kirk Douglas, American actor, was born.

1922  Gabriel Narutowicz was announced the first president of Poland.

1929  Bob Hawke, 23rd Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1931 The Constituent Cortes approved the constitution which establishes the Second Spanish Republic.

1933  Ashleigh Brilliant, American writer (Pot-Shots), was born.

1934  Dame Judi Dench, English actress, was born.

1935 – Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor and muckraker, was killed in gangland murder.

1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Nanjing – Japanese troops under the command of Lt. Gen. Asaka Yasuhiko launched an assault on Nanjing.

1940 – World War II: Operation Compass – British and Indian troops under the command of Major-General Richard O’Connor attacked Italian forces near Sidi Barrani in Egypt.

1941 Beau Bridges, American actor, was born.

1946 – The “Subsequent Nuremberg Trials” began with the “Doctors’ Trial“, prosecuting doctors alleged to be involved in human experimentation.

1950  Joan Armatrading, St. Kitts-born English singer, was born.

1953 John Malkovich, American actor, was born.

1953 – Red Scare: General Electric announced that all communist employees would be discharged from the company.

1957 – Donny Osmond, American singer and actor, was born.

1958  Nick Seymour, Australian bassist (Crowded House), was born.

1960 The first episode of Britain’s longest running television soap opera Coronation Street was broadcast.

1961 – The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Israel ended with verdicts of guilty on 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people and membership of an outlawed organization.

1961 Tanganyika became independent from Britain.

1962  The Petrified Forest National Park was established in Arizona.

1968 NLS (a system for which hypertext and the computer mouse were developed) was publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco.

1979 The eradication of the smallpox virus was certified, making smallpox the first and to date only human disease driven to extinction.

1988  The Michael Hughes Bridge in Sligo, Ireland was officially opened.

1990  Lech Wałęsa became the first directly elected president of Poland.

2003 – A blast in the center of Moscow killed six people and wounds several more.

2006 – Moscow suffered its worst fire since 1977, killing 45 women in a drug rehabilitation center.

2008 – The Governor of Illinois, Rob Blagojevich, was arrested by federal officials for a number of alleged crimes including attempting to sell the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama’s election to the Presidency.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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