Word of the day


Subitize – to perceive at a glance the number of a group of items without counting them.

It’s supposed to be satire . . .


. . .  but this is already very nearly true:

Before the year’s end, the only shows running on free-to-air television will be infomercials and network news bulletins (which will be indistinguishable from each other) and two new reality shows: one featuring three drivers fighting over one parking spot; the other following celebrities no one has ever heard of while they do their grocery shopping

Kiwi cricketer Dutch Player of Year


Kiwi cricketer, Peter Borren, has won CricketEurope’s Dutch Player of the Year poll.

Borren, who was beaten into second place by Henk-Jan Mol in last year’s poll, had another outstanding season in 2011, captaining VRA to their second double of championship and Twenty20 Cup in consecutive years.

Although his preparation for the World Cup was disrupted by a nagging injury he produced several memorable innings, especially his 82-ball 84 in the final game against Ireland. Unable to bowl in the first three matches, he turned in a fine spell with the ball against India, and his captaincy under great pressure was inspirational on the field and dignified off it.

If the results in the World Cup were disappointing the same cannot be said of the CB40 League, where Borren led his side to five victories and a tie in their eleven completed matches. The captain contributed 268 runs, second only to Wesley Barresi, at an average of 29.77, and claimed 12 wickets at 28.00. His 37-ball 56 not out against Derbyshire at Derby and, even more outstanding, 33-ball 71 not out (including five fours and six sixes) against Kent in Rotterdam played a key part in those two wins.

He played for Canterbury and New Zealand under-19 teams before choosing to play for the Netherlands.

You can read more about his career here.



Some deer, a dog, a man and a boy with a video camera:

Hat tip: Skeptic Lawyer who also has a clip of a news story on the video.

2011 in blogging


One of the services WordPress supplies for its bloggers is an annual report at year’s end.

London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 330,000times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 4 sold-out events for that many people to see it.

In 2011, there were 2,419 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 8,791 posts. There were 93 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 20th with 1,947 views . . .

The top referring sites were:





asianinvasian.blogspot.com (Cactus Kate).

The most active commenters were: Robert Guyton 1008 comments, Gravedodger 604 commments; Andrei 539 comments; PDM 311 comments and Inventory 2 249 comments.

Thank you WordPress and all readers and commenters.

UPDATE: Open Parachute has December’s sitemeter rankings and Whaleoil is now #1 with  260294 unique visitors last month.

Perpetrators’ families victims too – updated


The kidnapping of Gloria Kong in 1983 rocked North Otago.

A media blackout meant she was safely home before the crime became public knowledge but once the news broke the community rallied to support Gloria and her family and to help police.

It didn’t take long for the police to arrest suspects who were subsequently convicted.

The kidnapping and trial were big news at the time but were soon superseded by other events for most of us.

However, it wasn’t the end of the story for the family of the main culprit.

The first victims of crime are the targets but families of those convicted also face difficulties, usually through no fault of their own.

One of those, Verna McFelin, the wife of the man found guilty of the kidnapping, used her experience to help others in similar circumstances and was awarded an Order of Merit in the New Year Honours list for her efforts.

When her husband was arrested, her youngest child was just a baby.

Contemplating leaving Paul, she decided to work to save her marriage and family.

It did not take Verna long to realise, once Paul was arrested, that there was little help and support for the families and children of prisoners. She met other families at prison visiting time and worked to set up support groups. The community organisation Pillars was formed in 1988 to provide a more formal structure.

Pillars has always been an innovative organisation, running a range of group, residential and children’s services over the years. It has held contracts with CYF and Corrections, for support of families, reintegration and other services. Current programmes include intensive social care for families, a mentoring programme for children and a programme teaching senior school students to work effectively with primary school children who have a parent or sibling in prison.

You can read more about the kidnapping at crime.co.nz

It would be much more difficult to maintain a media blackout in similar circumstances now but at the time the media accepted police fears that publicity could endanger Gloria’s life.


A friend just phoned with a related story:

Several farmers had noticed that nitrogen levels weren’t responding after applying fertiliser. They contacted MAF which did tests and found the fertiliser wasn’t up to standard.

They were going public at a Federated Farmers meeting and were thrilled when there was a big media contingent at it. However, before they got to that item on the agenda, someone came in with a message for the reporters who immediately left. The message must have been about the kidnapping which got all the headlines and the fertiliser story went unreported.

January 2 in history


1492  Reconquista: the emirate of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, surrendered.

1818 The British Institution of Civil Engineers was founded.
1860  The discovery of the planet Vulcan was announced at a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.

1871 Amadeus I became King of Spain.

1873 Thérèse de Lisieux, French Roman-Catholic nun, was born (d. 1897).

1896 – Sir Lawrence Wackett, Australian aircraft engineer, was born (d. 1982).

1938 The first official New Zealand airmail to the United States departed Auckland for San Francisco aboard Pan American Airline’s Samoan Clipper, a Sikorsky S-42B flying boat was piloted by Captain Ed Musick.
First official airmail flight to San Francisco
1947 David Shapiro, American poet, literary critic, and art historian, was born.
1949 Luis Muñoz Marín became the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.

1955  Panamanian president Jose Antonio Remon was assassinated.

1959  Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, was launched by the U.S.S.R.

1967 Francois Pienaar, South African rugby player, Sprinbok, was born.

1971 – The second Ibrox disaster killed 66 fans at a Rangers-Celtic football match.

1974  President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve fuel during an OPEC embargo.

1975  Reuben Thorne, New Zealand All Black, was born.

1999  A brutal snowstorm hit the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches (359 mm) of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches (487 mm) in Chicago, where temperatures plunged to -13°F (-25°C); 68 deaths were reported

2001 – Sila Calderón became the first female Governor of Puerto Rico.

2002 – Eduardo Duhalde was appointed interim President of Argentina by the Legislative Assembly.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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