How big is your moon?


Tonight’s moon is a super one, a perigee, when the full moon coincides with the its closet approach to the earth.

It’s up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons this year.

My point-and-shoot camera doesn’t do it justice, but for the record, here it is:


Word of the day


Spirituel  – having or evidencing a refined mind and wit; relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material; relating to the soul or spirit.

Crossing the line


It is the Opposition’s job to hold the government to account.

The best way to do that is by intelligent criticism of policy and the promotion of viable alternatives.

The easiest way to do it is through personal attacks . But dirty politics is dangerous politics because mud slung usually spatters the slinger too.

Pete George raises this in a post entitled Labour’s Mallardy, Parliament’s Malady:

. . . Political mudslinging is also a major turnoff for a lot of the population outside the political bubbles, and I believe is a significant factor in increasing levels of public apathy towards politics and parliament. Politicians as a group are generally not respected – for good reason.

Most MPs go into parliament with the aim of doing good for the country. Most give it their best shot. Some MPs give the whole group a gutter level reputation through the use of gutter tactics. . .

Most MPs do not deserve the low opinion many hold of them. Unfortunately their business as usual isn’t usually news and we rarely see them doing the bread and butter work of helping constituents and running the country.

In a comment on my previous post, Johnsonmike wrote:

. . . I believe that the massive dumbing down of the media and its obsession with tawdry minor scandals, beat-up crime scares and celebrity mindlessness has brought us to the state of turn-off with politics we are now at. . .

Just as it’s easy politics to attack the person, it’s easy copy for journalists to dwell on the side shows.

There is a line between justifiable criticism and personal attacks. Those who cross it not only find themselves covered in muck, they can find that the public’s sense of fair play is aroused and that interest in the attack changes to sympathy for the attacked.

Hat tip:  Keeping Stock:


Ease of voting not issue


The low voter turn out at the last election is regarded as cause for concern and the Electoral Commission is considering on-line voting in the hope it would help.

But is ease of voting the issue?

Lindsay Mitchell looked at the results of a survey of people who didn’t vote and put it down to political mindlessness, laziness, the inability to discern, fatalism and lack of interest.

None of those is likely to change with on-line voting.

I regard the right to vote as both a right and a privilege and do my best to exercise it intelligently although those who disagree with my views may question that.

But not everyone sees it that way and if they don’t know enough, can’t be bothered, don’t understand, think it doesn’t matter or just don’t care, would making it easier to vote make much difference?

It isn’t very difficult to vote now. The problem which needs addressing isn’t ease of voting but engagement with politics and interest in voting.


For Mothers’ Day


* As is the mother, so is her daughter. Ezekiel 16:4

*  If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

* A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.Dorothy Canfield Fisher

* At work, you think of the children you have left at home. At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent. Golda  Meir

* The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you  will always find forgiveness. Honore de Balzac

* By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do  not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

* Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. Oprah Winfrey

* Making a decision to have a child–it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Elizabeth Stone

* Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons. Liberation was meant to expand women’s opportunities, not to limit them. The self-esteem that has been found in new pursuits can also be found in        mothering.  Elaine Heffner

* The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A   mother is something absolutely new. Rajneesh

* The best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother. Anonymous

* When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her  child. Sophia Loren

* All mothers are working mothers. Author unkonwn.

* The mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him/her with comfort and anticipates his/her wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his/her best. Washington Irving

* On Mother’s Day I have written a poem for you.  In the interest of poetic economy and truth, I have succeeded in concentrating my deepest feelings and beliefs into two perfectly crafted lines:  You’re my mother, I would have no other!  Forest Houtenschil

UPDATE: – Whoops, I”m a week early, Mothers’ Day is next week.

May 6 in history


1527  Spanish and German troops sacked Rome;  147 Swiss Guards, including their commander, died fighting the forces of Charles V in order to allow Pope Clement VII to escape into Castel Sant’Angelo.

1536  King Henry VIII ordered English language Bibles be placed in every church.

1542  Francis Xavier reached Old Goa, the capital of Portuguese India at the time.

1682  Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles.

1757  Battle of Prague – A Prussian army fought an Austrian army in Prague during the Seven Years’ War.

1758 Maximilien Robespierre, French Revolutionary was born (d. 1794).

1816  The American Bible Society was founded.

1835 James Gordon Bennett, Sr. published the first issue of the New York Herald.

1840  The Penny Black postage stamp beccame valid for use in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1856 Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychiatrist, was born (d. 1939).

1856 Robert Peary, American explorer, was born  (d. 1920).

1857  The British East India Company disbanded the 34th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry whose sepoy Mangal Pandey had earlier revolted against the British and is considered to be the First Martyr in the War of India’s Independence.

1860  Giuseppe Garibaldi’s Mille expedition sets sail from Genoa to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

1861  Motilal Nehru, Indian freedom fighter, was born (d. 1931).

1861  American Civil War: Richmond, Virginia was declared the new capital of the Confederate States of America.

1863 American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ended with the defeat of the Army of the Potomac by Confederate troops.

1877 Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Sioux surrendered to United States troops in Nebraska.

1882 Thomas Henry Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish were stabbed and killed during the Phoenix Park Murders in Dublin.

1882  The United States Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.

1889  The Eiffel Tower was officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition.

1895 Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor, was born (d. 1926).

1904 Moshe Feldenkrais, Ukrainian-born founder of the Feldenkrais method, was born (d. 1984).

1910  George V beccame  King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII.

1915  Orson Welles, American film director and actor, was born (d. 1985).

1920 Kamisese Mara, 1st Prime Minister of Fiji and President of Fiji, was born (d. 2004).

1935  New Deal: Executive Order 7034 created the Works Progress Administration.

1935  The first flight of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk.

1937  Hindenburg disaster:  Thirty six people were killed when the German zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

1940  John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1941   Bob Hope performed his first USO show.

1941  The first flight of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

1942  World War II:  On Corregidor, the last American forces in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese.

1945  World War II: Axis Sally  delivered her last propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

1945 Bob Seger, American singer/songwriter, was born.

1945 – World War II: The Prague Offensive, the last major battle of the Eastern Front, began.

1947 –Alan Dale, New Zealand actor, was born.

A head shot of a man wearing a suit; he is turned away from the camera.

1953 Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, was born.

1954 Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.

1960 More than 20 million viewers watch the first televised royal wedding when Princess Margaret married Anthony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey.

1962  St. Martín de Porres was canonized by Pope John XXIII.

1966 Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were sentenced to life imprisonment for the Moors Murders in England.

1976  An earthquake struck Friuli, causing 989 deaths and the destruction of entire villages.

1981  A jury of architects and sculptors unanimously selected Maya Ying Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from 1,421 other entries.

1983  The Hitler diaries were revealed as a hoax after examination by experts.

1984  – 103 Korean Martyrs were canonized by Pope John Paul II in Seoul.

1989 Cedar Point opened Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster to break the 200 ft height barrier.

1994  Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand officiated at the opening of the Channel Tunnel.

1994 – Former Arkansas state worker Paula Jones filed suit against President Bill Clinton, alleging that he had sexually harassed her in 1991.

1996 A totally New Zealand  Royal Honours system was established.

New royal honours established

1997 The Bank of England was given independence from political control, the most significant change in the bank’s 300-year history..

1999  First elections to the devolved Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly were held.

2001  During a trip to Syria, Pope John Paul II became the first pope to enter a mosque.

2002  Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by an animal rights activist.

2008 Chaiten Volcano erupted in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 4,500 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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