Word of the day


Dulce – sweet.

Proof pot makes you potty


A pot smoker protested against the advertisements warning against drugged-driving by posting on YouTube a film of himself smoking pot while driving.

The video is here –  don’t watch if you’re offended by bad language and/or stupidity.

Argentina days 2 & 3


Argentineans are practitioners of slow cooking.

The fire was lit in the mud oven soon after we arrived on Saturday afternoon, it took several hours to get it to the desired temperature then a few more to cook the pollo (chicken) and sweet potato.

As is the norm, it was well after 10 before we ate, but it was worth the wait.

Next day was a lazy Sunday, with our hosts, extended family and friends beside – or in – the swimming pool, talking, reading, snoozing and/or horse riding.

Lunch was beef, slow-cooked on the parrilla.

It was served with bread and salad, acompanied by beer or wine and followed by fresh fruit and alfajores – biscuit sandwiches filled with dulce de leche (caramel) and covered in chocolate.

Quote of the day


“Modern life is so complicated that no amount of terms and conditions can possibly do what they claim to. Consequently, the world stumbles along as it always has – relying on trust and human nature, not Clause 39b, to get things done.

If someone wants to break a contract they will do so. No matter how thoroughly you try to shield yourself with the armour of small print, what matters is whether the parties involved can be relied on. Most people can be. Others cannot. What is written on a page makes little difference, as Bridgecorp investors know to their cost.” Paul Little

To Argentina with love


Our visit to Argentina the week before last was a flying one – just seven days.

The weather was hot, the people warm, the meat and the hugs were plentiful.

Our affection for the country and its people began in 1995 when we hosted an AFS student from Pergamino, a city on the pampa about three hours west of Buenos Aires.

There’s a huge element of luck in exchanges and we struck the jackpot – a lovely young man whose family is now our family.

He’s returned to stay with us twice, his brother lived with us for six months and came back for a few weeks on a second visit, his sister has had a couple of visits, her husband spent a few weeks with us, their parents have also visited us and last week’s trip was our sixth to their country.

The aim of this brief visit was to meet our Argentinean grandbaby, our exchangee’s six month old daughter, who is of course gorgeous.

We left New Zealand on Thursday evening and after an 11 1/2 hour flight arrived in Buenos Aires four hours earlier because of the time difference.

We were staying in San Nicolas, a city nor-west of Buenos Aires.

On Friday we lunched at Estrella Federal , an historic estancia.

Estrella Federal is on the banks of the Paraná River, the second longest river in South America.

It is wide and deep enough to be navigable by ocean-going ships.

There are several islands in the river. The one we went is about 16,000 hectares in area. It runs 8,000 cattle and boasted New Zealand-made stock yards.

The island can disappear under water during floods but the length of the river means the owner gets a couple of months notice of rising water which gives him time to sell or find grazing for the stock.

When it floods the island can be covered in water for weeks or months. There is an upside though – when the flood recedes the farm has been well and truly irrigated and the island has received free soil, fertiliser and seed.


Why didn’t I write post about the trip while we were there? We have very good security at home and the chances of anyone with malicious intent reading this blog are slight but it still seemed sensible not to tell the world we were out of the country.


How did I manage to blog more as less as normal while away? I’d done some posts ahead and our hosts were working while we were there so it suited them for us to occupy ourselves some of the time which enabled me  to write some more.

Christie’s Law


Christie Marceau,  was murdered at her home on the North Shore of Auckland in November last year.

The man accused of the crime had earlier been charged with kidnapping and assaulting Christie.

Despite strong opposition, the Judge granted him bail to live within close proximity to Christie’s home.  Four weeks later he went there and allegedly stabbed her.

Christie’s sister has established a Facebook page Christie’s Law as part of a campaign to encourage a review and urgent change to our currently failing Bail laws.

In 81% of cases where the charge is for a violent offence, bail is granted. Yet this is the case for only 31% of traffic offenders.

It may surprise you to know that no monetary bond is required for bail in New Zealand unlike many other countries. In addition where the Police oppose bail – almost inevitably with extremely good reason, Judges often don’t listen with tragic consequences such as Christie’s Murder. Furthermore Judges are currently not answerable to anyone!

This means that violent offenders who are already facing serious charges have very little to lose by committing further offences while on bail.

 The campaign is seeking the following changes to the law:

That police be given the power to appeal a judge’s decision to grant bail, which would automatically move the application to a higher court and keep the accused behind bars until a final decision is made

Amendments to the Bail Act:

  • No bail for defendants with a criminal history for an offence involving violence, which attracts a sentence of two years or more.
  • No bail for any person accused of an offence involving serious violence as defined in the three strikes legislation.

Reintroduction of meaningful bail bonds:

  • No bond payment, no bail.
  • An automatic and immediate inquiry after every serious bail breach, similar to a police inquiry after a police shooting.
  • The views of the victims of any violent offence be given paramount consideration.

At present, judges are a law unto themselves. There is no monitoring of them and they are not accountable for their decisions.

This petition calls for an annual, publicly available performance review of judges, with the right of public recall on those proven to be consistently below par or found guilty of exposing the public to undue risk.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is supporting Christie’s family.

The campaign is being launched outside the Auckland High Court at 11:3am tomorrow. Christie’s parents are asking supporters to wear turqoise, her favourite colour.

The Facebook page seeks donations to help with the campaign and asks people to print and sign the petition.

February 26 in history


747 BC Epoch of Ptolemy‘s Nabonassar Era.

364 Valentinian I was proclaimed Roman Emperor.

1266 Battle of Benevento: An army led by Charles, Count of Anjou, defeated a combined German and Sicilian force led by King Manfred of Sicily who was killed.

1361 Wenceslaus, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, was born (d. 1419).

1564 Christopher Marlowe, English dramatist, was born (d. 1593).

1658 Treaty of Roskilde: After a devastating defeat in the Northern Wars (1655-1661), King Frederick III of Denmark-Norway was forced to give up nearly half his territory to Sweden to save the rest.

1794 Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen burnt down.

1802 Victor Hugo, French writer, was born (d. 1885).

1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from Elba.

1829 – Levi Strauss, German-born clothing designer, was born  (d. 1902).

1844 Two Wellington lawyers, William Brewer and H. Ross, undertook a duel as the result of a quarrel that had arisen from a case in the Wellington County Court. When the two men faced off in Sydney Street, Brewer fired into the air but ‘received Mr. Ross’ ball in the groin’. He died a few days later.

'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington
1846 William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, American frontiersman, was born  (d. 1917).

1848 The second French Republic was proclaimed.

1852 John Harvey Kellogg, American surgeon, advocate of dietary reform, was born  (d. 1943).

1861  Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, Russian revolutionary, Lenin’s wife, was born (d. 1939).

1863 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the National Currency Act into law.

1866 Herbert Henry Dow, American chemical industrialist, was born (d. 1930).

1870 In New York City, a demonstration of the first pneumatic subway opened to the public.

1885 The Berlin Act, which resulted from the Berlin Conference regulating European colonization and trade in Africa, was signed.

1887 – At the Sydney Cricket Ground, George Lohmann became the first bowler to take eight wickets in a Test innings.

1909  Fanny Cradock, English food writer and broadcaster, was born (d. 1994).

1914 Robert Alda, American actor, was born (d. 1986).

1914 HMHS Britannic, sister to the RMS Titanic, was launched at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

1916  Jackie Gleason, American actor, writer, composer, and comedian, was born (d. 1987).

1917 The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.

1919 An act of the U.S. Congress established most of the Grand Canyon as the Grand Canyon National Park.

1928 Fats Domino, American musician, was born.

1928 Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, was born.

1929 The Grand Teton National Park was created.

1932 Johnny Cash, American singer, was born (d. 2003).

1935 The Luftwaffe was re-formed.

1935 The Daventry Experiment, Robert Watson-Watt carried out a demonstration near Daventry which led directly to the development of RADAR in the United Kingdom.

1936 Adolf Hitler opened the 1st Volkswagen plant in East Germany.

1936 – In the February 26 Incident, young Japanese military officers attempted to stage a coup against the government.

1947 Sandie Shaw, English singer, was born.

1949 Elizabeth George, American novelist, was born.

1950 Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born.

1952 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that his nation had an atomic bomb.

1954 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey, was born.

1954 Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, heir to the deposed Kingdom of Hanover and a husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco., was born.

1955 Andreas Maislinger, founder of Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, was born.

1958 Susan J. Helms, Astronaut, was born.

1966 Apollo Programme: Launch of AS-201, the first flight of the Saturn IB rocket.

1968  Tim Commerford, American bass player (Rage Against the Machine), was born.

1971  U.N. Secretary Generlal U Thant signed the United Nations’ proclamation of the vernal equinox as Earth Day.

1972 The Buffalo Creek Flood caused by a burst dam killed 125 in West Virginia.

1987 Iran-Contra affair: The Tower Commission rebuked President Ronald Reagan for not controlling his national security staff.

1990 The Sandinistas were defeated in Nicaraguan elections.

1991  Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein announced the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

1993 World Trade Centre bombing: A truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center exploded, killing 6 and injuring more than a thousand.

1995 The United Kingdom’s oldest investment banking institute, Barings Bank, collapsed after a securities broker, Nick Leeson, lost $1.4 billion by speculating on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange using futures contracts.

2000 Mount Hekla in Iceland erupted.

2001 The Taliban destroyed two giant statues of Buddha in Bamyan, Afghanistan.

2003 War in Darfur started.

2004 – F.Y.R.O.M. President Boris Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2005 Hosni Mubarak the president of Egypt ordered the constitution changed to allow multi-candidate presidential elections before September 2005 by asking Egyptian parliament to amend Article 76.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

%d bloggers like this: