Word of the day


Myrmidon – a loyal follower;  a hired ruffian or unscrupulous subordinate; a member of a warlike Thessalian people led by Achilles at the siege of Troy.



Only just achieved: 5/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Saturday’s smiles


Peter Jackson was on location with a film crew in Central Otago.

Among the locals who came to watch was an elderly farmer who mentioned in conversation that it was going to rain the next day.

Just as she said, Jackson woke to rain next morning.

A week later, the farmer was on the set again and told Jackson there would be a storm the next day.

The next day dawned fine but by lunchtime black clouds were rolling in and soon after a hail storm struck.

“That farmer is the best weather forecaster I’ve ever had,” Jackson said and asked his PA to negotiate a contract to employ her as a weather advisor for the rest of the filming.

The farmer agreed and for a couple of weeks her forecasts were 100% accurate.

But after that the accuracy of her predictions declined. Some days she was right and some days she wasn’t.

Jackson was upset by this and called her in to a meeting.

“There’s a lot of money tied up in this filming and we need to know what the weather is doing. I used to be able to rely on you but now I might as well listen to the radio forecasts.”

The farmer nodded and said, “Yeah, that’s not a bad idea. That’s what I was doing until the batteries in my transistor went flat.”



Definitely not achieved: only 3/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz.

Picked the wrong region


You could be forgiven if you’ve forgotten that Labour leader David Shearer launched his regional tour in Nelson last week because it was overshadowed by the party’s internal bickering.

Mind you it might not have got any more attention had their not been side shows.

Be that as it may, he went and he spoke about how the regions are going backwards.

If he’d done his homework he might have known, as Finance Minister Bill English does,  that Nelson isn’t going backwards, it’s growing:

 The ASB / Main Report Regional Economic Scoreboard for the March quarter ranks New Zealand according to 16 regional council areas. Among other things, it shows that the Tasman region has continued to edge up the scoreboard and now takes out the top spot. Businesses in the Tasman region are more likely to believe their assessment than the assessment of the Leader of the Opposition, who went there and told a very small audience that the Tasman economy was in poor shape.


If someone in Labour had done a little homework Shearer wouldn’t have launched his regions-going-backwards campaign in the region which is going forwards.

Definition of madness


Jane Clifton:

This could be a new definition of madness: doing something you don’t particularly want to do that you’re not particularly convinced will work and that will make a whole lot of things you do want to do a lot more difficult, just to please people you never particularly wanted to please in the first place, and who have recently so thoroughly displeased you that if you could exile them to the Ross Dependency with a colony of bad tempered sea lions for company, you would, like a shot.

It’s also the reality of government under MMP.

August 18 in history


293 BC  The oldest known Roman temple to Venus was founded, starting the institution of Vinalia Rustica.

1572 Marriage in Paris of the future Huguenot King Henry IV of Navarre to Marguerite de Valois, in a supposed attempt to reconcile Protestants and Catholics.

1587 Virginia Dare, granddaughter of governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, became the first English child born in the Americas (d.?).

1634  Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, was burned alive in Loudun France.

1848  Camila O’Gorman and Ladislao Gutierrez were executed on the orders of Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of Globe Tavern – Union forces tried to cut a vital Confederate supply-line into Petersburg, Virginia, by attacking the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.

1868 – French astronomer Pierre Jules César Janssen discovered helium.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Gravelotte .

1877  Asaph Hall discovered Martian moon Phobos.

1885 Nettie Palmer, Australian poet and essayist, was born  (d. 1964).

1891 Major hurricane struck Martinique, leaving 700 dead.

1903 German engineer Karl Jatho allegedly flew his self-made, motored gliding aeroplane four months before the first flight of the Wright Brothers.

1904 – Max Factor, Polish-born cosmetics entrepreneur, was born  (d. 1996).

1909 Mayor of Tokyo Yukio Ozaki presented Washington, D.C. with 2,000 cherry trees.

1917  A Great Fire in Thessaloniki, Greece destroyed 32% of the city leaving 70,000 individuals homeless.

1920 Shelley Winters, American actress, was born  (d. 2006).

1920 The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.

1935 Sir Howard Morrison, New Zealand entertainer, was born (d 2009).

1935 Robert Redford, American actor, was born.

1938  The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting New York State, United States with Ontario, Canada over the St. Lawrence River, was dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1941 Adolf Hitler ordered a temporary halt to Nazi Germany’s systematic euthanasia of the mentally ill and the handicapped due to protests.

1950  Julien Lahaut, the chairman of the Communist Party of Belgium was assassinated by far-right elements.

1952 Patrick Swayze, American actor, was born  (d. 2009).

1958  Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita was published in the United States.

1963 American civil rights movement: James Meredith became the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi.

1965 Vietnam War: Operation Starlite began – United States Marines destroyed a Viet Cong stronghold on the Van Tuong peninsula in the first major American ground battle of the war.

1966 Vietnam War: the Battle of Long Tan – a patrol of 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment encountered the Viet Cong.

1969  Jimi Hendrix played the unofficial last day of the Woodstock festival.

1971 Prime Minister Keith Holyoake announced to Parliament the decision to withdraw New Zealand’s combat force from Vietnam before the end of the year.

Deadline for Vietnam pull-out announced

1976 In the Korean Demilitarized Zone at Panmunjeom, the Axe Murder Incident resulted in the death of two US soldiers.

1977  Steve Biko was arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967 in King William’s Town, South Africa. He later died of the injuries sustained during this arrest.

1982  Japanese election law was amended to allow for proportional representation.

1983  Hurricane Alicia hit the Texas coast, killing 22 people and causing over USD $1 billion in damage (1983 dollars).

1989  Leading presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galán was assassinated near Bogotá in Colombia.

2000 A Federal jury finds the US EPA  guilty of discrimination against Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, later inspiring passage of the No FEAR Act.

2005 Massive power blackout in  Java, affecting almost 100 million people.

2008 President Of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf resigned due to pressure from opposition.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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