Word of the day


Fustigate – cudgel; to beat with a club; punish severely; criticise harshly.

Re-gift or sell


There’s always been re-gifting – passing on a gift you don’t want to someone else.

Now there’s TradeMe:

The Boxing Day ritual that sees thousands of Christmas presents re-emerge on Trade Me is under way, as Kiwis seek to find a new home for unwrapped items they don’t like, won’t use, or already have.

More than 20,000 items had landed on Trade Me since lunchtime on Christmas Day, and spokesman Paul Ford said the online marketplace provided people with an opportunity to recycle a gift, and make some pocket money along the way.

“Yesterday most of us will have received at least one gift that made us groan inwardly, but if you can’t exchange it then selling it to someone who genuinely wants it is often a better option than hiding it in the back of the wardrobe, sending it off to the dump, or awkwardly passing it on at Christmas next year.” . .

There is another option for unwanted gifts – passing them on to a charity shop.

Mr Ford said there were “regular offenders” that routinely turned up on site having missed the mark on Christmas Day. “These are often over-ambitious purchases on the lingerie front by both men and women, and items like books, ties, handbags and kitchen appliances all commonly crop up.”

But should we feel guilty about not keeping something we’ve been given?

The social taboo about recycling unwanted presents still remained, but was felt more keenly by gift receivers than by gift givers, according to research from the London Business School. “Receivers often over-estimate how offensive regifting is to the initial giver,” Mr Ford said. “But for givers, selecting and offering a gift is much more important than getting bitter and twisted about what happens to it after it’s been unwrapped.”

I’ve no doubt given gifts I thought were good ideas when buying them which might not be thought to be so good by those receiving them.

There are others that go out of fashion or just have passed their enjoy-by date.

I’d rather the recipients gave them away or sold them than held on to them unwillingly just because they were gifts.

Back story


The opposition has a propensity for sneering at John Key’s back story.

Labour even tried to find some skeletons in his cupboard.

I have never heard or read any criticism from the right of David Shearer’s back story.

That could be a reflection on a fundamental difference between right and left – the former generally celebrates and appreciates success in any field while at least some of the latter are suspicious and/or envious of it.

That doesn’t mean any back story should be accepted without question.

Over at Bowalley Road, Chris Trotter has done some delving and come up with the back story to Shearer’s back story.

I think this answers the question I asked at the end of this morning’s post on the numbers – the cry of rage from Labour’s grass roots is still fomenting.




2013 business outlook better


Will the outlook for business be better next year?

Subscribers to the NBR think so:

Sixty two percent of respondents to its Business Pulse poll said business would be better, 25% thought it would be much the same and only 13% were pessimistic.

Given the NBR’s readership is more likely to be involved in business that is encouraging.


Has the screech been silenced?


Rob Hosking writes it’s all in the numbers for 2013 and starts with the Labour Party:

Start the year with the calculus involved in Labour’s new electoral college: from February any leadership change will be determined by 40% of caucus vote, 40% membership vote and 20% union vote.

This need not be destabilising over the medium to long term but it will almost definitely be so in the short term. Any new voting system takes a while for people to adjust to, and the first round or two inevitably suffer from that instinctive human desire to test the limits of any new toy. This ‘what’s this button do?’ syndrome is as prevalent among political operatives as it is among children and computer users and there are inevitable scabs on knees and viruses as a result. For reference in the political sphere, examine closely New Zealand’s first MMP election in 1996, and the first few leadership changes in UK Conservative and Labour parties after they gave their members greater voting powers.

If Labour’s members were content with their caucus and leadership this would not matter so much. But Labour members so manifestly are unhappy: the 2012 conference was a screech of rage aimed at its MP. . .

Has that screech of rage been silenced or is it still fomenting?

December 27 in history


537  The Hagia Sophia was completed.

1571 Johannes Kepler, German astronomer, was born  (d. 1630).

1773  George Cayley, English scientist, inventor, and politician, was born (d. 1857).

1822 Louis Pasteur, French scientist, was born (d. 1895).

1831 Charles Darwin embarked on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle.

1836 The worst ever avalanche in England occured at Lewes, Sussex, killing 8 people.

1845  Ether anesthetic was used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Williamson Long in Jefferson, Georgia.

1901 Marlene Dietrich, German actress and singer, was born (d. 1992).

1915 William Masters, American gynecologist, was born (d. 2001).

1918 The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans began.

1922  Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.

1932  Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

1941 Michael Pinder, British musician (Moody Blues), was born .

1943 Joan Manuel Serrat, Spanish musician, was born.

1945  The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations.

1948 Gérard Depardieu, French actor, was born.

1949 Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognised Indonesian independence.

1968 Apollo Program: Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.

1951 Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico, was born.

1955 Brad Murphey, Australian racing driver, was born.

1978 Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

1979  Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

1987 Rewi Alley, friend of China, died of heart failure and cerebral thrombosis at his Beijing residence.

Rewi Alley dies

2001  The People’s Republic of China was granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.

2004 Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reached Earth – the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.

2007 – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber.

2008 – Israel launched 3-week operation on Gaza – Operation Cast Lead.

2009 – On the Day of Ashura in Tehran, government security forces fired upon demonstrators.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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