14 ways economist says “I love you”


How does an economist love you?

You can count the ways here.

Word of the day


Valentine – a card or message, usually amatory, containing professions of love, usually sentimental but sometimes satirical or comical or burlesque, or a token or gift sent by one person to the object of his/her affection on Valentine’s day; a sweetheart chosen on Valentine’s day.

Positivity is infectious


Some relationship advice for Valentine’s Day:

In  daily diaries, 48 couples cohabiting in the United States reported  whether they told their partner about the most positive and stressful  event of their day. Participants reported greater positive affect on  days when they told their partner about the most positive event of their  day. . . . Participants  also reported greater positive affect on days when their partner shared  their most positive event.

Positivity is infectious and it can work for single people too.

A friend had been through a particularly difficult patch with a marriage break-up and family deaths.

Another friend suggested that no matter how bad a day she had it would help if, last thing at night, she though of one good thing that had happened in her day.

Her first thought was that there weren’t any bright spots to reflect on in her days but when she was driving home she rounded a corner and saw a flock of lambs gambolling and as close to grinning at the fun of it as lambs can get.

She grinned too, tucked the memory away to bring out last thing that night and has made a habit of making her last thought a reflection on the day’s bright spot ever since.


Saving paper, straining eyes


Difficulty deciphering numbers in the phone book was the first sign my eyesight wasn’t as good as it had been.

My optometrist told me that many of his clients come to him with a similar complaint.

The problem will be striking more people sooner now because the print in the phone books published last year is considerably smaller than in the old ones.

A column in the ODT (not on-line) explained it was done to save paper. The pages are smaller and the print has been compressed to fit more names and numbers on the pages.

The new format might be a good way to save paper but it’s also a sure-fire way to strain eyes.

Given good light and fresh eyes I could usually read names in the old book and with a bit of a squint I could also get the numbers .

Even when the light is fine and I’m wide awake the names are difficult to decipher in the new book and the numbers are indistinct.

On-line directories and the 018 service are alright if you know the correct spelling, initials and exact address of the person whose number you’re seeking but if you don’t have those details you can’t always get the right number.

St Joseph’s primary school in Oamaru has done a regular fund-raiser selling local phone directories with bigger print. They were popular before and will be even more so now.

But until their new directory is printed the $2 pair of glasses I keep by the phone will be getting a lot more use.


Quote of the day


It’s better to know you’re loved every day rather than  just once or twice a year.” – My farmer.

– Always said with sufficient sincerity, and sufficient proof,  to forestall cynicism, even on Valentine’s Day which is also my birthday 🙂

Nothing new in discrimination


The tarry Totara soils south of Oamaru are well-suited to market gardening and have attracted a community of hard-working immigrants.

Among them are Reggie and Suzie Joe who have run what we’ve always called Vegie Joe’s roadside stall at Alma for 40 years.

In cultivating success by dint of sheer effort, Ben Guild pays tribute to the Joes..

If you haven’t time to read it in full, consider these two extracts:

Initially, it was generally only the men who came because of  the 100 poll tax that was imposed on the Chinese alone, which   could have taken a Chinese worker up to a decade to save.   

“The Chinese were so poor – that’s why they ended up travelling to all parts of the world,” Mr Joe said.   

“They were treated badly, but they put up with it because it was so much better than it was at home.”   

 Some New Zealanders could not understand what real poverty  was, he said.   

“If only some people in New Zealand today had a little bit of  hardship they might look at life a little differently.   

“They moan and say they don’t have enough to live in dignity, but that’s the way it is.   

“People have no idea how poor people can be.”   

The story of a sister, who died when Mr Joe was young, aptly      illustrates his point.   

“We were both crook; we just didn’t have the money for medicine; we just had to let her go.” 


One customer – Dr David Holdaway, a pediatrician from Dunedin      who used to come in weekly with ice creams for all the staff  – came in for special praise.

He believed such generosity illustrated a marked change in the treatment of people of Chinese descent in New Zealand.

“Kids could be quite cruel,” he said.

“And the government of the day [post-World War 2] wanted to kick us back to China, but at the end of the day they changed their minds.

“It’s just a change; it’s like the blacks in America. Not that long ago they used to treat them like dirt. Now they are their champions.”

There is nothing new about anti-immigrant sentiment and general and anti-Chinese feeling in particular but the Joes are perfect examples of what we have to gain from welcoming people to our country.

Is it too much to hope the people responsible for Asian New Zealanders being the ethnic group most discriminated against for the 10th year in a row will appreciate that and judge people on how they behave rather than how they look?

February 14 in history


270 St. Valentine was killed.

1349 Approximately 2,000 Jews were burned to death by mobs or forcibly removed from the city of Strasbourg.

1483 Babur, Moghul emperor of India, was born d. 1530).

1556 Thomas Cranmer was declared a heretic.

1743  Henry Pelham became British Prime Minister.

1778 The United States Flag was formally recognised by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.

1779 James Cook was killed by Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.

1797 Battle of Cape St. Vincent – John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent and Horatio Nelson (later 1st Viscount Nelson) led the British Royal Navy to victory over a Spanish fleet in action near Gibraltar.

1803 Chief Justice John Marshall declared that any act of U.S. Congress that conflicts with the Constitution was void.

1804 Karadjordje led the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire.

1819 Christopher Sholes, American inventor, was born (d. 1890).

1831 Ras Marye of Yejju marched into Tigray and defeated and killed Dejazmach Sabagadis in the Battle of Debre Abbay.

1835 The original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, iws formed in Kirtland, Ohio.

1838  Margaret E. Knight, American inventor, was born  (d. 1914).

1847 Anna Howard Shaw, American suffragette, was born  (d. 1919).

1849 James Knox Polk became the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.

1859 George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., American engineer and inventor (Ferris Wheel) , was born (d. 1896).

1872 Government forces led by Captain Preece tackled Te Kooti for the last time along the Mangaone stream, near Lake Waikaremoana.

Te Kooti's last clash with government forces

1876 Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone, as did Elisha Gray.

1879 The War of the Pacific broke out when Chilean armed forces occupied the Bolivian port city of Antofagasta.

1899 Voting machines were approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.

1900 Second Boer War: 20,000 British troops invaded the Orange Free State.

1912 – The first diesel-powered submarine was commissioned.

1915 Maori soldiers set sail for World War I.

Maori soldiers sail to war

1919 The Polish-Soviet War began.

1920 The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago.

1924 The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) was founded.

1929  St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago.

1942 Battle of Pasir Panjang contributed to the fall of Singapore.

1942 Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, was born.

1943  Tunisia Campaign – General Hans-Jurgen von Arnim’s Fifth Panzer Army launches a concerted attack against Allied positions in Tunisia.

1944 Carl Bernstein, American journalist, was born.

1944 Anti-Japanese revolt on Java.

1945  Prague was bombed probably due to a mistake in the orientation of the pilots bombing Dresden.

1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy, officially starting the U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relationship.

1945  Mostar was liberated by Yugoslav partisans.

1946 The Bank of England was nationalised.

1946  ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, was unveiled.

1949 The Knesset (Israeli parliament) convened for the first time.

1949 – The Asbestos Strike began in Canada, marking the beginning of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec.

1961 Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, was first synthesized at the University of California.

1962 First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took television viewers on a tour of the White House.

1966 Australian currency was decimalised.

1979 Muslims kidnapped the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs.

1981 Stardust Disaster: A fire in a Dublin nightclub killed 48 people

1983  United American Bank of Knoxville, Tennessee collapsed.

1989  Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal Disaster.

1989 Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie.

1989 – The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System were placed into orbit.

1990 92 people were killed aboard Indian Airlines Flight 605 at Bangalore.

1996 China launched a Long March 3 rocket, carrying the Intelsat 708 satellite which flew off course 3 seconds after liftoff and crashed into a rural village.

2000 The spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker entered orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.

2002 – Tullaghmurray Lass sank off the coast of Kilkeel, County Down killing three members of the same family on board.

2004 – In a suburb of Moscow, Russia, the roof of the Transvaal water park collapses, killing more than 25 people, and wounding more than 100 others.

2005 – Seven people were killed and 151 wounded in a series of bombings by suspected Al-Qaeda-linked militants that hit the Philippines’ Makati financial district in Metro Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City.

2008 – Northern Illinois University shooting: a gunman opened fire in a lecture hall of the DeKalb County, Illinois university resulting in 6 fatalities (including gunman) and 18 injuries.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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