Word of the day


Amphigory – a nonsensical piece of writing, usually in verse, especially one that parodies a serious piece of writing; a nonsense verse or composition; a rigmarole with apparent meaning which proves to be meaningless.

La Boca


La Boca was originally home to the ship yards of Buenos Aires and the people who worked in them.

It now boasts the city’s most colourful street, Caminito.

Saturday’s smiles


While crossing the US-Mexican border on his bicycle, the man was stopped by a guard who pointed to two sacks the man had on his shoulders. “What’s in the bags?”, asked the guard.

“Sand,” said the cyclist.

“Get them off – we’ll take a look,” said the guard.

The Cyclist did as he was told, emptied the bags, and proving they contained nothing but sand, reloaded the bags, put them on his shoulders and continued across the border.

Two weeks later, the same thing happened. Again the guard demanded to see the two bags, which again contained nothing but sand. This went on every week for six months, until one day the cyclist with the sand bags failed to appear.

A few days later, the guard happened to meet the cyclist downtown. “Say friend, you sure had us crazy”, said the guard. “We knew you were smuggling something across the border. I won’t say a word – but what is it you were smuggling?”




6/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Rural round-up


No chance government will legislate to restrict meat capacity – Allan Barber

After the announcement last week of Alliance Group’s intention to close sheepmeat processing at its Mataura plant, union representative Gary Davis called for the government to intervene. This was no doubt caused more by frustration over the loss of jobs than any realistic expectation that the government would interfere in a commercial situation.

Alliance has made a business decision based on declining sheep numbers, brought about largely by land use change to dairy. The South Island’s share of national dairy production continues to increase every year with the result that more beef processing is needed at the expense of sheep chains. Hence Alliance took the logical decision to retain beef processing at Mataura and to transfer sheepmeat to Lorneville. . .

Oilseed rape industry a goer!

Federated Farmers Grain & Seed Industry Group welcomes the news that Solid Energy has received a bid to buy its Agribusiness division as a going concern.

“After hearing a few weeks ago there was a possibility that Solid Energy could simply shut the doors at Biodiesel New Zealand, this is the news that oilseed rape growers have been waiting for,” says Federated Farmers South Canterbury Grain & Seed Chairman and oilseed rape grower, Colin Hurst.

“Growing oilseed rape requires a significant commitment because the seeds can stay in the ground and stop you growing any other brassica for as long as ten years. . .

Swiss cows send texts to announce they’re in heat – John Tagliabue:

When Christian Oesch was a boy on his family’s hog farm, cellphones were a thing of the future. Now, Mr. Oesch tends a herd of dairy cattle and carries a smartphone wherever he goes. Occasionally he gets an SMS from one of his cows.

That is because Mr. Oesch, 60, who cares for a herd of 44 Red Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, is helping to test a device that implants sensors in cows to let farmers know when they are in heat. When that is the case, the device sends an SMS to the farmer’s phone. The Swiss do not settle for half measures: the SMS can be in any one of Switzerland’s three main languages — German, French and Italian — plus English or Spanish. . .

Should we bother trying to get consumers closer to farmers? – Pasture Harmonies:

It is often said that farmers need to get closer to consumers.

And while it is possible, and some marketers have set up the facility to, for a bar code (or QR code) to show exactly where a piece of meat came from, even though that’s good it’s not really the point.

Sure, often the marketer will be telling a story associated with the meat’s provenance.

However, my argument is that within the huge quantity of meat sold around the world, the brave battle of such tiny efforts is worthy but not enough. . .

God’s country -Charmian Smith:

Central Otago is “God’s country when it comes to pinot    noir”, Australian wine writer James Halliday wrote in Panorama    in 2000. At the region’s 25th anniversary celebration at the    weekend, Charmian Smith asked him if he thinks it still    applies.

In 1990, James Halliday, elder statesman of Australian wine,  opened Gibbston Valley Wines, the region’s first  purpose-built winery and restaurant. He was privately      thinking that there was no way good wine was going to be made there, he says, and he warned Alan Brady and his investors that wineries had an inexhaustible appetite for funds – something many have found since.

Halliday has been to Central many times since, obviously revising his opinion about the quality of the wine. Last weekend he was back for the 25th anniversary celebrations of  the region’s first wine produced for sale, a 1987 Rhine Riesling made from the few grapes the half-dozen pioneers could get together from their little plots of vines. . .

DOC spread too thinly


The Public Service Association is using a survey showing public support for conservation to criticise funding cuts.

A Department of Conservation annual survey of 3,885 people on their attitudes to conservation shows that 85% of New Zealanders consider that conservation is important to them and 77% believe that spending money on conservation is a good investment in the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

“DOC staff will undoubtedly welcome that vote of confidence in the important work that they do, but clearly it’s the government which needs to be convinced,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

DOC has been one of the hardest hit by government funding cuts to the public sector, resulting in the loss of around 140 jobs in the past year.

Brenda Pilott says there looks to be no end in sight.

“As the government slashes another $1 billion from departmental budgets this year, DOC is having to embark on yet another review to find an additional $9 million in savings.”

“Funding cuts are already impacting on DOC’s operations and it’s ironic that at a time when the public is saying it values conservation, the government seems bent on running it down,” she says.

I’m surprised the number of people who regard conservation as important isn’t higher but that isn’t an argument for increased funding.

Part of the problem is the large area of the conservation estate which grew considerably under Labour from 1999 – 2008.

Land surrendered from pastoral leases under tenure review was put into DOC’s care without proper regard for the cost of looking after it.

Some of that land has high conservation values but a lot of it doesn’t but DOC is responsible for looking after all of it with an overstretched budget.

The end result is the department, and it’s budget, are spread too thinly.

The solution isn’t more money but less land.

We need to have a discussion about how much land the state should own and that with low conservation values should be taken from the DOC estate to enable the Department to concentrate on the areas most in need of its oversight and care.

October 6 in history


105 BC Battle of Arausio: The Cimbri defeated the Roman army of Gnaeus Mallius Maximus.

69 BC Battle of Tigranocerta: Forces of the Roman Republic defeated the army of the Kingdom of Armenia led by King Tigranes the Great.

68 BC Battle of Artaxata: Lucullus defeated Tigranes the Great of Armenia.

1600  Jacopo Peri‘s Euridice, the earliest surviving opera, received its première performance in Florence, signifying the beginning of the Baroque Period.

1683  William Penn brought 13 German immigrant families to the colony of Pennsylvania, marking the first immigration of German people to America.

1762  Seven Years’ War: conclusion of the Battle of Manila between Britain and Spain, which resulted in the British occupation of Manila for the rest of the war.

1769 Ship’s boy Nicholas Young received a gallon of rum and had Young Nick’s Head named in his honour for being the first aboard the Endeavour to spot land.

Young Nick sights land

1789  French Revolution: Louis XVI returned to Paris from Versailles after being confronted by the Parisian women.

1849  The execution of the 13 Martyrs of Arad after the Hungarian war of independence.

1854 The Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead started shortly after midnight, leading to 53 deaths and hundreds injured.

1884  The Naval War College of the United States Navy was founded in Newport, Rhode Island.

1889  Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture.

1903  The High Court of Australia sat for the first time.

1906  The Majlis of Iran convened for the first time.

1908 Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina.

1910 Barbara Castle, British politician, first woman to be First Secretary of State, was born (d. 2002).

1914 Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian explorer was born  (d. 2002).

1927  Opening of The Jazz Singer, the first prominent talking movie.

1928  Chiang Kai-Shek became Chairman of the Republic of China.

1930 Richie Benaud, Australian cricketer, was born.

1939  World War II: The  Polish army was defeated.

1942 Britt Ekland, Swedish actress, was born.

1945 Billy Sianis and his pet billy goat were ejected from Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series (see Curse of the Billy Goat).

1948 Gerry Adams, Northern Irish politician, was born.

1973  Egypt launched a coordinated attack against Israel to reclaim land lost in the Six Day War. The Ramadan War Yom Kippur War started at 2:05 pm that day.

1976  Cubana Flight 455 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean after two bombs, placed on board by terrorists with connections to the CIA, exploded. All 73 people on-board were killed.

1976 New Premier Hua Guofeng ordered the arrest of the Gang of Four and associates and ended the Cultural Revolution in China.

1976   Massacre of students gathering at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand to protest the return of ex-dictator Thanom, by a coalition of right-wing paramilitary and government forces, triggering the return of the military to government.

1977  In Alicante, Spain, fascists attacked a group of MCPV militants and sympathisers, one MCPV sympathiser was killed.

1977 The first prototype of the MiG-29, designated 9-01, made its maiden flight.

1979 Pope John Paul II beaome the first pontiff to visit the White House.

1981 President of Egypt  Anwar al-Sadat was assassinated.

1985  PC Keith Blakelock was murdered as riots erupted in the Broadwater Farm suburb of London.

1987  Fiji became a republic.

1995 51 Pegasi was discovered to be the first major star apart from the Sun to have a planet (and extrasolar planet) orbiting around it.

2000 Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević resigned.

2000  Argentine vice president Carlos Álvarez resigned.

2002  The French oil tanker Limburg was bombed off Yemen.

2007 Jason Lewis completed the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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