Word of the day


Cynosure – an object that serves as a focal point or centre of attention and admiration; something that serves to guide.



Only 4/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”?  

2. It’s viein French, vita in Italian,  vida in Spanish and koiora in Maori, what is it in English?

3. Who is the only NZ Governor General who was born in the South island?

4. Name two of the four members of The Monkees.

5. Which is your favourite of their songs?

Points for answers:

James got four with a bonus for making me laugh for his answer to  #3.

Adam got one and a bonus for the smile.

Andrei got three.

Alwyn wins an electronic bag of Moorpark apricots with five.

PDM got two and a bonus for effort.

Teletext and Grant  also win a bag of Moorparks each with five and a bonus for extra information.

Paul got four and a bonus for humour.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

World’s oldest sheep dies after fall


The merino wether Shrek was considered old when he died aged about 16.

But he was just a teenager in comaprison with Tiwggy, a 25 year-old ewe which met an untimely demise after falling over a cliff on the Isle of Lewis.

The blackface ewe – nicknamed Twiggy because of her scrawny appearance – was just a month short of her 26th birthday.

Crofter John Maciver put her longevity down to her still having most of her teeth, allowing her to graze easily, and her ‘independent spirit’. . .

“It is a sad end,’ said Mr Maciver, 51. ‘She was never a big sheep but she produced her last lambs three years ago and even then they were twins!  . . .

. . . The last recognised holder of the world’s oldest sheep title, Lucky, died in Australia in 2009, aged 23.

The Polwarth-Dorchester cross raised by Delrae Westgarth set the Guinness record in 2007 and was a celebrity in her home town of Lake Bolac, near Melbourne.

Guinness World Records said that since Lucky’s death it had been actively looking for a contender for world’s oldest living sheep.

It was understood that Mr Mr Maciver had not applied for the recognition for his ewe. The oldest age recorded for a sheep so far was 28 years and 51 weeks. . .

 Hat Tip: Cactus Kate

No surprises not surprising


Opposition MPs say there are no surprises in the announcement that Finance Minister Bill English is promising no surprises when he delivers his fourth Budget on May 24th.

“There will be no big  surprises from the Government. We have laid out our economic plan and  Budget 2012 will focus on implementing that plan.

“That’s  important if New Zealand is to grasp its opportunities and withstand the global challenges that will continue to come our way.”

Opposition spokesperson on political strategy Trivia Muckrake said she was disappointed but not surprised.

“The government keeps telling us what it’s going to do and then it goes and does it. There’s no surprises in that, but it does make it harder for us to sling mud at them,” she said.

“It doesn’t stop us accusing them of doing what they said they wouldn’t or not doing what they said they would, but it’s not easy to back those accusations up with examples when they keep on doing what they say they’ll do.”

Spokesman for the press gallery Harry Headline said he was disappointed too.

“U-turns and back tracks are bad news for governments and that makes good news for us. It’s much harder to manufacture outrage and write cliche-ridden prose when the government’s just getting on with business as normal.”

However, a counsellor with Political Tragics Anonymous, Fairly Calm, said she was delighted by the announcement.

“It’s helps us immensely to show our clients there is life and excitement outside the Bowen Triangle and to shift their focus from politics when it’s just business as usual in the Beehive,” she said.

Making positive changes


Quote of the day:

To sit back and accept that the system is not failing, to be in my position and do nothing about it, to not take my own experiences (and I am not ashamed of my past on a benefit) and use them to make positive change for beneficiaries… now that is unacceptable. I accept that people can be scared of change, but I’m going to keep backing people into more than a lifetime on welfare. Paula Bennett

The Minister of Social Development is backing beneficiaries to help them have a better life in employment than they, and their families could have on benefits.

March 2 in history


On March 2:

986 Louis V became King of the Franks.

1127 Assassination of Charles the Good, Count of Flanders.

1316  Robert II of Scotland, was born (d. 1390).
1545 Thomas Bodley, English diplomat and library founder, was born (d. 1613).
1578 George Sandys, English colonist and poet, was born (d. 1644).
1717 The Loves of Mars and Venus was the first ballet performed in England.

1791 Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris.

1793 Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, was born  (d. 1863).

1807  The U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

1808 The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a Scottish learned society, was held in Edinburgh.

1815 Signing of Kandyan treaty by British invaders and Sri Lankan King.

1836 Texas Revolution: Declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico.

1842 The Grand National steeplechase at Aintree was won by Gaylad, ridden by Tom Olliver who won two other Grand national winners.

1855 Alexander II became Tsar of Russia.

1861 Tsar Alexander  II signed the emancipation reform into law, abolishing Russian serfdom.

1863 The U.S. Congress authorised track width of 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) for Union Pacific Railroad.

1865 The Volkner Incident: Missionary Carl Völkner was hanged from a willow tree near his church at Opotiki during the East Cape War.

Missionary Carl Volkner killed at Opotiki

1877 Just two days before inauguration, the U.S. Congress declares Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the election even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.

1888 The Convention of Constantinople was signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.

1901 The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment, limiting the autonomy of Cuba as a condition for the withdrawal of American troops.

1903 In New York City the Martha Washington Hotel opened, becoming the first hotel exclusively for women.

1904 Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), American author, was born  (d. 1991).

1917 The enactment of the Jones-Shafroth Act granted Puerto Ricans United States citizenship.

1917 Desi Arnaz, Cuban-born actor and bandleader, was born (d. 1986).

1917 Nicholas II of Russia abdicated the throne in favor of his brother Michael II.

1919 The first Communist International meets in Moscow.

1923 George Basil Cardinal Hume, Archbishop of Westminster,, was born (d. 1999).

1931 Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union and Nobel laureate, was born.

1931 Tom Wolfe, American author, was born.

1933 The film King Kong opened at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

1937  The Steel Workers Organizing Committee signed a surprise collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Steel, leading to unionization of the United States steel industry.

1938 Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile, was born.

1938 Lawrence Payton, American singer and songwriter (The Four Tops), was born  (d. 1997).

1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope and took the name Pius XII.

1942  Lou Reed, American singer and guitarist, was born.

1943  Tony Meehan, English drummer (The Shadows), was born (d. 2005).

1946 Ho Chi Minh was elected the President of North Vietnam.

1948 Rory Gallagher, Irish guitarist, was born (d. 1995).

1949 Captain James Gallagher landed his B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, after completing the first non-stop around-the-world aeroplane flight in 94 hours and one minute.

1949 – The first automatic street light was installed in New Milford, Conn..

1950 Karen Carpenter, American singer and drummer (The Carpenters), was born (d. 1983).

1953 The Academy Awards were first broadcast on television by NBC.

1955 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated the throne in favor of his father, King Norodom Suramarit.

1955  Jay Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds, was born.

1956 John Cowsill, American musician (The Cowsills), was born.

1956 Mark Evans, Australian bassist (AC/DC), was born.

1956 Morocco declared its independence from France.

1962 Jon Bon Jovi, American musician (Bon Jovi), was born.

1962 In Burma, the army led by General Ne Win seized power in a coup d’état.

1968 Daniel Craig, English actor, was born.

1969 The first test flight of the Anglo-French Concorde was conducted.

1970 Rhodesia declared itself a republic.

1972  The Pioneer 10 space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral.

1977 Chris Martin, English musician (Coldplay), was born.

1978 Czech Vladimír Remek becomes the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space aboard Soyuz 28.

1989 Twelve European Community nations agreed to ban the production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the century.

1990  Nelson Mandela elected deputy President of the African National Congress

1991 Battle at Rumaila Oil Field brings an end to the 1991 Gulf War.

1992 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, San Marino, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined the United Nations.

2004  Al Qaeda carried out the Ashoura Massacre, killing 170 and wounding over 500.

Sourced from NZ History On Line & Wikipedia

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