Robin Gibb 1949 – 2012


British born, Australian singer Robin Gibb has died.

Robin enjoyed a musical career spanning six decades, from humble beginnings in the 1950s singing with his brothers in cinemas, to his recent first classical venture, The Titanic Requiem, penned with his son Robin-John.

Gibb was too ill to attend the April 10 premiere, where he had been due to perform the song Don’t Cry Alone.

“It’s not about how complicated music is; it’s about how simple and relative to the human spirit it is,” Gibb said on his new composition.

Robin’s twin Maurice died in 2003. Robin’s death leaves Barry as the only surviving brother of the Bee Gees.

Theirs was the music which backgrounded my teens and twenties.



Word of the day


Comity – legal reciprocity, principle by which the courts of one jurisdiction may accede or give effect to the laws or decisions of another; friendly social atmosphere, social harmony; a loose widespread community based on common social institutions; courtesy; respect; a disposition to perform some official act out of goodwill and tradition rather than obligation or law.



3540 in the first attempt at Merriam Webster’s vocaulary vocabulary quiz and 3680 when I did a second one.

The  score is based on the number of correct answers with more points for faster times.

I managed 10/10 in a reasonable time – the average score is 2480.

Golden rule


Quote of the day:

While it rankles to be beholden to the opinion of the same financial markets as caused the global financial crisis, the fact remains that we’re debtors, and the rules about what happens to those who don’t pay their debts haven’t changed. Pattrick Smellie

The golden rule still applies – those with the gold make the rules.

As long as we’re heavily indebted we’re at the mercy of those to whom we owe money.

Parties need more members


Submissions on the MMP review close on May 31st.

It is too late if you want to appear in person but you can still make a submission on-line or by post.

You can read those already made here.

A lot of them want a reduction in the 5% threshold which I oppose.

One of MMP’s weaknesses is instability of government’s and disproportionate power for wee parties, the risk of both would increase with a lower threshold.

I support an increased threshold although I’d be prepared to accept 5% if a party also held some electorate seats.

I would be less concerned about the status quo for the threshold if parties were required to have at least 2,000 members before they were registered and if membership was audited, at least until it was established the party had that number of members.

Any other organisation which had national influence would need a lot more than that number to survive and be taken seriously.

Who owes how much to whom?


Dairy NZ suppliers were told on Friday that they’d have to wait about a month for the $30 million they’re owed.

That is a lot of money for the company that is in receivership and it won’t be all that they owe.

It’s also a lot of money for suppliers who will have bills to pay.

Synlait is showing some interest in the dairy factory but any new owner would be loath to take on the liability for unsecured creditors, among whom are the suppliers.

There is understandable concern about how much of the money they’re owed the suppliers will get and it’s not just farm owners.

Share milkers are also owed money and there is uncertainty about whether that is the company’s responsibility or the farm owners’.

Ian Moore, a spokesman for the farmers who supply milk to NZ Dairies, admitted yesterday he was concerned about the immediate prospects. . .

. . . His main concern was for sharemilkers, who typically own only the cows and share in the milk cheque, who have no equity to fall back on.

Mr Moore has already been in contact with rural bankers from the area who he hoped would turn up to yesterday’s meeting and support the affected farmers, to prevent “anyone from going to the wall” if payments are delayed or do not come through.

Then there are the people who supply and service the dairy farms who will be owed money by the suppliers who are owed money by the company.

One attraction of companies like NZ Dairies is that suppliers don’t have to buy shares as they do with Fonterra. That is of most benefit to those with newer conversions who will be in a weaker position to withstand a delay or loss of payments.

Most if not all suppliers are from South Canterbury and North Otago where the receivership will have an impact on the districts’ economies.

May 21 in history


878  Syracuse, Italy was captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.

879 Pope John VIII gave blessings to Duke Branimir and to Croatian people, considered to be international recognition of Croatian state.

996 Sixteen-year-old Otto III was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

1502  The island of Saint Helena was discovered by the Portuguese navigator João da Nova.

1527 King Philip II of Spain was born (d. 1598).

1554 A royal Charter was granted to Derby School.

1674  The nobility elect ed John Sobieski King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.

1688  Alexander Pope, English poet, was born  (d. 1744).

1725 The Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was instituted in Russia by the empress Catherine I.

1758 Mary Campbell was abducted from her home in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War.

1780 Elizabeth Fry, British social reformer, was born (d. 1845).

1809 The first day of the Battle of Aspern-Essling between the Austrian army led by Archduke Charles and the French army led by Napoleon I of France.

1840 Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson proclaimed sovereignty over all of New Zealand: over the North Island on the basis of cession by the Treaty of Waitangi and the southern islands by right of discovery.

Hobson proclaims sovereignty over NZ

1851  Slavery was abolished in Colombia.

1856  Lawrence, Kansas was captured and burned by pro-slavery forces.

1863  American Civil War: Siege of Port Hudson – Union forces begin to lay siege to the Confederate-controlled Port Hudson, Louisiana.

1864 Russia declared an end to the Russian-Circassian War and many Circassians were forced into exile. The day is designated the Circassian Day of Mourning.

1871  French troops invaded the Paris Commune and engage its residents in street fighting. By the close of “Bloody Week” some 20,000 communards have been killed and 38,000 arrested.

1871  Opening of the first rack railway in Europe, the Rigi-Bahnen on Mount Rigi.

1879  War of the Pacific: Two Chilean ships blocking the harbor of Iquique (then belonging to Peru) battled two Peruvian vessels in the Battle of Iquique.

1881  The American Red Cross was established by Clara Barton.

1894  The Manchester Ship Canal in England was officially opened by Queen Victoria, who knighted its designer Sir Edward Leader Williams.

1904 Fats Waller, American pianist, was born  (d. 1943).

1904 The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris.

1907 John C. Allen, American roller coaster designer, was born  (d. 1979).

1916 – Harold Robbins, American novelist (d. 1997).

1917 Raymond Burr, Canadian actor (d. 1993).

1917  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established through Royal Charter to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military forces.

1917  The Great Atlanta fire of 1917.

1924  Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in a “thrill killing”.

1927 Charles Lindbergh touched down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

1930 Malcolm Fraser, 22nd Prime Minsiter of Australia, was born.

1932 Bad weather forced Amelia Earhart to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, and she thereby becme the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

1934 Oskaloosa, Iowa, became the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of its citizens.

1936 Sada Abe was arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover’s severed genitals in her hand.

1937  A Soviet station became the first scientific research settlement to operate on the drift ice of the Arctic Ocean.

1939 The National War Memorial (Canada) was unveiled by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Ottawa.

1941 Ronald Isley, American singer (The Isley Brothers), was born.

1943 Hilton Valentine, British guitarist (The Animals), was born.

1944  Mary Robinson, President of Ireland, was born.

1946 Physicist Louis Slotin was fatally irradiated in a criticality incident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1948 – Leo Sayer, English musician, was born.

1951 The opening of the Ninth Street Show, otherwise known as the 9th Street Art Exhibition – a gathering of a number of notable artists, and the stepping-out of the post war New York avant-garde, collectively know as the New York School.

1952 Mr. T, American actor, was born.

1958 United Kingdom Postmaster General Ernest Marples announced that from December,  subscriber trunk dialling will be introduced in the Bristol area.

1961  American civil rights movement: Alabama Governor John Malcolm Patterson declared martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots break out.

1966 The Ulster Volunteer Force declared  war on the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland.

1969 Civil unrest in Rosario, Argentina, known as Rosariazo, following the death of a 15-year-old student.

1972  Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica was damaged by a vandal,  Hungarian geologist Laszlo Toth.

1979 White Night riots in San Francisco following the manslaughter conviction of Dan White for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk.

1981 Irish Republican hunger strikers Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara died on hunger strike in Maze prison.

1990  Democratic Republic of Yemen and North Yemen agreed to a unity, merging into Republic of Yemen.

1991  Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber near Madras.

1991  Mengistu Haile Mariam, president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,  fled Ethiopia, effectively bringing the Ethiopian Civil War to an end.

1994 Democratic Republic of Yemen unsuccessful attempts to secede from Republic of Yemen, war breaks out.

1996  The MV Bukoba sank in Tanzanian waters on Lake Victoria, killing nearly 1000.

1996  The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas were executed.

1998  In Miami, Florida, five abortion clinics were hit by a butyric acid attacker.

1998   Suharto, Indonesian president of 32 years, resigns.

2001  French Taubira law officially recognised the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.

2003  An earthquake hit northern Algeria killing more than 2,000 people.

2004  Sherpa Pemba Dorjie climbed Mount Everest in 8 hours 10 minutes, breaking his rival Sherpa Lakpa Gelu’s record from the previous year.

2006  The Republic of Montenegro held a referendum proposing independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The Montenegrin people choose independence with a majority of 55%.

2006  The Swedish ice hockey team Tre Kronor took gold in the World Championship, becoming the first nation to hold both the World and Olympic titles separately in the same year.

2007  The clipper Cutty Sark was badly damaged by fire.

2010 – JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, launched the solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS aboard an H-IIA rocket.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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