Word of the day


Salvor – one who salvages or assists in salvaging a ship or its cargo;  a ship used in salvage.

Rena split


Just over three months after the MV Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef the ship has split in two.

In the immediate aftermath of the grounding the government and Maritime New Zealand were criticised for not acting faster.

But after three months of difficult and often dangerous work by the salvors there are still containers on board.

It would have been difficult if not impossible for them to have done anything more and done it any faster.

Accident or design?


Is this an accident or design, an oversight or a deliberate part of the campaign?

A French fashion retailer has apologised for a photo in which a naked man appeared behind a group of children advertising beachwear – but the image has gone viral on the internet.

In a tweet La Redoute  said that it “apologises for the photo published on its site and is doing what’s necessary to remove it.

But montages appeared on the internet showing the naked man in some iconic images such as the moonlanding.

Call me cynical if you will, but given the scrutiny and enhancement photos undergo before publication in a advertisements, I find it difficult to believe that nobody noticed the naked man.

People see what they expect to see and it’s possible to miss a gorilla, but people in advertising are paid to look. When so many pairs of eyes scrutinise advertisements during the design stage, surely at least one would have seen the man sans clothes.

Hat tip: Skepticlawyer

Meeting market without mangling message


An Australian priest is asking for crosses to be removed from hot cross buns  which are on sale in supermarkets already –  13 weeks before Easter.

Burnie priest Father Tony Kennedy said hot cross buns were originally eaten on Good Friday to remind people of the day Jesus died on the cross but they had lost much of their religious significance.

Lost much of their significance? I’d say they’ve lost all significance and have merely become another seasonal food item sold well out of season.

Meanwhile, Coles media spokesman Jon Church said it was up to Coles customers to decide how they would mark religious holidays.

“We put the cross on our buns because that’s how they like them,” he said. The buns went on sale early because customers wanted it.

If customers like a cross why give it to them for only 13 weeks before Easter, why not give them crosses for the other 39 weeks as well?

Has the supermarket asked customers if they want the cross or if it’s just that the cross identifies a type of bun they want?

Has the supermarket tried selling the buns made to that recipe without the cross?  That way they could meet the market without mangling the message of Easter.

Hot crossless buns might be just as popular.

They might be even more popular because they’d sell to people like me who react against all these desperate attempts to  get customers to buy more by ignoring them completely.

Humans behind the headlines


The headline tells us that 11 people died in a hot air balloon accident  accident near Carterton.

Behind that headline are the humans – the 11 people whose lives have been cut short; their families, friends and workmates; the people who witnessed the horror; the people in the emergency services who had to deal with the immediate aftermath; the people who reported the story; the people who will be involved in identifying the dead . . .

Those closest to the dead will already know who they are and the names will be passed to their wider circles. The rest of us will have to wait for official announcements and such are the few degrees of separation in New Zealand it is probable that we will know at least one of them, or know someone who knows them.

Last year was a tough one for so many. This one has started with a high holiday road toll, drownings, murder and now this tragic accident to remind us yet again that life is fatal and that none of us is an island.

January 8 in history


1297  Monaco gained its independence.

1734  Premiere of George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

1746 Second Jacobite Rising: Bonnie Prince Charlie occupied Stirling.

1790 George Washington delivered the first State of the Union Address in New York City.

1835  The United States national debt was 0 for the only time.

1838 – Alfred Vail demonstrated a telegraph system using dots and dashes ( the forerunner of Morse code).

1862 Frank Nelson Doubleday, American publisher, was born  (d. 1934).

1863 Geologist Julius von Haast led an exploratory expedition in search of a route from the east to the west coasts of the South Island.

Haast begins West Coast expedition

1867 African American men were granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

1867  Emily Greene Balch, American writer and pacifist, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born  (d. 1961).

1877 – Crazy Horse and his warriors fought their last battle with the United States Cavalry at Wolf Mountain (Montana Territory).

1900  Dame Merlyn Myer, Australian philanthropist, was born  (d. 1982).
1908 William Hartnell, British actor, was born(d. 1975).
1911 Gypsy Rose Lee, American actress and entertainer, was born (d. 1970).
1912 The African National Congress was founded.
1926  Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud became the King of Hejaz and renamed it Saudi Arabia.
1926 Soupy Sales, American comedian, was born(d. 2009).
1935 Elvis Presley, American singer, was born (d. 1977).
1937  Dame Shirley Bassey, Welsh singer, was born.
1941  Graham Chapman, British comedian, was born  (d. 1989).

1946  Robby Krieger, American musician (The Doors), was born.

1947  David Bowie, English musician, was born.

1959 – Fidel Castro‘s Cuban Revolution was completed with the take over of Santiago de Cuba.

1959 Paul Hester, Australian drummer (Crowded House), was born (d. 2005).

1962 – The Harmelen train disaster killed 93 people in The Netherlands.

1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty” in the United States.

1973 – Soviet space mission Luna 21 was launched.

1973 – Watergate scandal: The trial of seven men accused of illegal entry into Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate begins.

1975 Ella Grasso became Governor of Connecticut, becoming the first woman to serve as a Governor in the United States other than by succeeding her husband .

1994  Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 left for the space station  Mir. He stayed on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.

2004 The RMS Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger ship ever built, was christened by her namesake’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

2005 – The nuclear sub USS San Francisco collided at full speed with an undersea mountain south of Guam. One man was killed, but the sub surfaces and was repaired.

2011 – An attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and subsequent shooting in Casas Adobes, Arizona at a Safeway grocery store killed 6 people and wounded 13, including Giffords.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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