Word of the day

June 2, 2013

 Soigne – showing sophisticated elegance; fashionable; polished and well groomed; carefully or elegantly done.


Rural round-up

June 2, 2013

$10m flour mill opens – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand’s newest flour mill is “quintessentially New Zealand”, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key was in Timaru yesterday to open Farmers Mill, the country’s only independently owned and operated flour producer.

The mill produces biscuit flour for food manufacturer Griffin’s, but in the near future will also produce a diverse range of flour, including bread and pizza flour.

“You can look out there and see wheat growing in a paddock in South Canterbury and know that it’s coming to a facility like this to be milled into a product like a chocolate chip biscuit,” Mr Key said. “Next time I’m having a Krispie in the Beehive, I’m going to know exactly where that Krispie came from.” . . .

Awards reflect change in focus

The changing face of farming is behind three new categories added to the South Island Farmer of the Year competition run by the Lincoln University Foundation this year.

Winners will each receive $5000 for the new categories in human resource management, technology use and efficient use of resources.

Furthermore, the competition’s top prize has been raised to $20,000.

Foundation board of trustees chairman Ben Todhunter said the top prize was given as a travel grant to allow the winners to go overseas to look at other farming practices, examine new technologies and innovations to improve their farm business. . .

Farmers should run the country – Alan Emmerson:

We’ve had a great autumn here in Wairarapa, according to some of the long term locals the best ever.

We now have a limited amount of cattle feed. I doubted the even remote possibility of that happening three short months ago.

It is all the more surprising considering that in early March we were in the throes of a massive drought. Again, according to some of the local crew, the worst ever.

Then in mid-March it bucketed down, around 180mm. It has been warm and raining ever since. . .

Couple’s composites take ewe hogget title – Terry Brosnahan:

A North Canterbury couple’s perfect recipe won them the 2013 New Zealand Ewe Hogget competition in Dunedin last week.

Jean and Robert Forrester’s composite hoggets scanned a colossal 150% last year and lambed 133%. The hoggets weighed 56kg three weeks before the competition judges’ visited.

National convener Stephen Rabbidge said the Forresters’ type of sheep and the production from them under a relatively high stocking made them winners.

“Every ingredient made the recipe perfect.” . . .

In the dog house and other rubbish – Mad Bush Farm:

We had to get Simon a new kennel, after he totally demolished his old one. You would think that being given a whole brand new warm new house to live in, would spark some excitement.

Yeah right.

Well he wouldn’t have anything to do with it for an entire week. Instead, despite the suggestion that it would keep him out of the weather, now that winter is well and truly setting in, the idiot would actually use it. No of course not. Instead he stubbornly sat on top of what was left of his old kennel, and slept out in the freezing cold. . .


Nessie dead – internet to blame?

June 2, 2013

Have you come across recent sightings of the Loch Ness Monster?

Phillip Hoare hasn’t and is blaming the internet:

Each era creates their own monsters. . .

Whether these creatures were basking sharks, baleen whales, or unidentified new species, or whether they were what people wanted them to be, it is notable that they conformed to the culture and fashion of their times. Does that explain why the Loch Ness monster has been quiet of late? Have we, in our plethora of computer-generated images, become cynical about such monsters, now that we realise how easily we can create them ourselves? Arthur Conan Doyle believed in the Cottingley Fairies (and in ectoplasmic spirits) because the manipulative art of photography was still a mystery. . .

Now, thanks to YouTube – where there is a new cryptozoological sensation every day. . .  we’re attuned to duplicity. Our innocence is gone, along with an era that was trusting, gullible, even. It may be far-fetched to suggest that those 1930s monster-believers were contemporaneous with fellow Europeans who placed their faith in real-life monsters – the totalitarian leaders who offered darker and more dangerous fantasies – but it is undeniable that in the internet age, it is much more difficult to fool us. Or at least, that’s what we think.

I’m not sure that it is any less difficult to fool the gullible and the ability of computers to manipulate images makes it easier to do so.

But perhaps the speed at which the internet enables information to be transmitted means we’re likely to be fooled for a shorter time because it won’t be long before someone lets us know we can’t always trust that seeing is believing.


Mothers aren’t fathers

June 2, 2013

A primary school cancelled a father-son bonding session after a solo mother demanded to be included.

Two “Band of Brothers” seminars were arranged by Matakana School to help fathers get more involved in their sons’ lives, and as a forum for dads to share their issues. One session was for dads and another was for fathers and sons.

A solo mum wanted to attend but was told she couldn’t because her presence would inhibit discussion. She was told a mother and son seminar was planned for later in the year.

“We really just wanted an opportunity for the guys to open up and chat, and they wouldn’t particularly want to do if there were females around – which I think is understandable,” said principal Darrel Goosen.

And what’s wrong with that?

Traditionally fathers have played a lesser hands-on role in their children’s lives than mothers.

It was his role to go out and earn a living, hers to stay home and nurture the family.

That has changed, men take a more active role in parenting, more women work outside the home.

But in many families the mother is still more likely to be more involved in parenting and many men still don’t have much time with their children.

That is a pity for fathers and their children and a school should be commended for trying to address that.

It wasn’t a parent-child bonding session, it was a father-son one.

Solo parents have a very difficult job but a mother isn’t a father.


On being a broad church

June 2, 2013

The National Party has always been a broad church party.

It understands the importance of a strong membership base and understand that encompasses a wide range of views.

Not all of those views can, or should, be translated into policy or practice.

Some should be but MMP requires not only the swallowing of dead rats, it also requires the parking of some good policy which would be politically unpalatable.

The power under MMP is in the middle.

That’s why Labour’s lurch to the left is not gaining it any traction in the polls and why National’s centre right policies are helping it maintain popularity.

That’s not just good for the party, it’s good for the country.

The government is moving in the right direction and taking people with it.

That’s a far better strategy for enduring change and electoral success than a more radical approach which would appeal to some members but alienate voters.


Sunday soapbox

June 2, 2013

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.


June 2 in history

June 2, 2013

455  The Vandals entered Rome, and plundered the city for two weeks.

1098  First Crusade: The first Siege of Antioch ended as Crusader forces took the city.

1615  First Récollet missionaries arrived at Quebec City.

1692  Bridget Bishop was the first person to go to trial in the Salem witch trials.

1740 Marquis de Sade, French author, was born (d. 1814).

1763  Pontiac’s Rebellion: Chippewas captured Fort Michilimackinac by diverting the garrison’s attention with a game of lacrosse, then chasing a ball into the fort.

1774 William Lawson, explorer of New South Wales, was born (d. 1850).

1774  The Quartering Act was enacted, allowing a governor in colonial America to house British soldiers in uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings if suitable quarters are not provided.

1780 The Derby horse race was held for the first time.

1793  Jean-Paul Marat recited the names of 29 people to the French National Convention, almost all of whom were guillotined.

1835  P. T. Barnum and his circus started their first tour of the United States.

1840 Thomas Hardy, English writer, was born  (d. 1928).

1848  The Slavic congress in Prague began.

1855 The Portland Rum Riot took place.

1857 Edward Elgar, English composer, was born  (d. 1934).

1876  Hristo Botev, a national revolutionary of Bulgaria, was killed in Stara Planina.

1886  U.S. President Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the White House, becoming the only president to wed in the executive mansion.

1896  Guglielmo Marconi applied for a patent for his newest invention: the radio.

1907 Dorothy West, American writer, was born  (d. 1998).

1909 Alfred Deakin became Prime Minister of Australia for the third time.

1913 Barbara Pym, English novelist, was born  (d. 1980).

1917 The Wairuna, a steamer en route from Auckland to San Francisco, was captured by the German raider Wolf and then sunk near the Kermadec Islands.

NZ steamer captured by the Wolf

1918  Kathryn Tucker Windham, American writer and storyteller, was born.

1924 U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.

1935 Carol Shields, American-born novelist, was born (d. 2003).

1940  King Constantine II of Greece, was born.

1941 Charlie Watts, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1941 William Guest, American singer (Gladys Knight & the Pips), was born.

1941  World War II: German paratoopers murdered Greek civilians in the village of Kondomari.

1946  In a referendum, Italians voted to turn Italy from a monarchy into a Republic.

1953 Keith Allen, Welsh comedian, actor, singer and writer, was born.

1953  The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the first major international event to be televised.

1955  The USSR and Yugoslavia signed the Belgrade declaration and thus normalize relations between both countries, discontinued since 1948.

1960 Tony Hadley, English singer (Spandau Ballet), was born.

1965 – Mark Waugh, Australian cricketer, was born.

1965 – Steve Waugh, Australian cricketer, was born.

1966 Surveyor 1 landed in Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon, becoming the first U.S. spacecraft to soft land on another world.

1967 Luis Monge was executed in Colorado’s gas chamber, in the last pre-Furman execution in the United States.

1967  Protests in West Berlin against the arrival of the Shah of Iran turn into riots, during which Benno Ohnesorg is killed by a police officer. His death results in the founding of the terrorist group Movement 2 June.

1970 – Motor racing driver Bruce McLaren was killed.

1979  Pope John Paul II visited his native Poland, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country.

1984 Operation Bluestar, a military offensive, was launched by the Indian government at Harmandir Sahib, also known as Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for the Sikhs, in Amritsar.

1988 Sergio Agüero, Argentinian footballer, was born.

1990 The Lower Ohio Valley tornado outbreak spawned 66 confirmed tornadoes in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, killing 12.

1992  In a national referendum Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty by a thin margin.

1995  United States Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady‘s F-16 wass shot down over Bosnia while patrolling the NATO no-fly zone.

1997   Timothy McVeigh was convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

1999 The Bhutan Broadcasting Service brought television transmissions to the Kingdom for the first time.

2003 The European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe launched from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan.

2004  Ken Jennings began his 74-game winning streak on the syndicated game show Jeopardy!

2012 – Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the killing of demonstrators during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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