Hogsnort Rupert’s Alec Wishart has died

January 23, 2016

Alec Wishart, frontman for Hogsnort Rupert’s Original Flagon Band, later rebranded as Hogsnort Rupert, has died.

 

Karl du Fresne pays tribute to a lovely man and born entertainer.

I’m not sure I could have named any members of the band but their music is etched in my memory.

My brothers and I saved up to buy our father a record of his favourite song Pretty Girl for a birthday or Christmas and we often danced to it.

 

Aunty Alice Brought Us This  was another one which got our toes tapping.

One Christmas morning the church organist was playing a medley of carols as we waited for the service to begin when she suddenly stopped mid-bar and giggled. The tune that started as a carol had morphed in to Aunty Alice.


Word of the day

January 23, 2016

Mimsy  – rather feeble and prim or affected; underwhelming, and ineffectual; a combination of miserable and flimsy.


366 days of gratitude

January 23, 2016

Nothing much to do, plenty of time to do it and a good book to read when it’s done.

Today I’m grateful for a lazy Saturday.


View from Above

January 23, 2016

Emirates has used drones to film views of its destinations around the world from above.

The seventh one is New Zealand.


Saturday’s smiles

January 23, 2016

In preparation for Burns’ birthday on Monday:

The minister was doing the rounds of the parish homes to receive their tithes and offerings.

One of his parishioners gave, but made it clear he wasn’t happy about parting with his money without receiving something concrete in return.

As he put the contribution in his bag, the Reverend Hamish commented dryly, ‘The Good Book says the Lord loves a cheerful giver, but the Church o’ Scotland canna be so choosy.’

And a bonus:

What did one highland cow say to the other?
Och, aye the moo!


Commodity prices then & now

January 23, 2016

Baker & Associates’ excellent weekly AgLetter compares commodity prices 18 months ago with current ones:

Oil price down 70%:     June 2014 ‐ US$103/barrel January 2016 ‐ $US30/barrel

Wheat price down 57%     June 2014 – US$287/tonne   January 2016 ‐ $US164/tonne  

US Beef down 16%       June 2014 – US$2.00/lb   January 2016 ‐ $US1.67/lb

US Lamb down 30%     June 2014 – US$1.37/lb   January 2016 ‐ $US0.95/lb

Whole Milk Powder     June 2014 ‐ $US3459/tonne January 2016 $‐ US2188/tonne

DAP Price down 20%     June 2014 ‐ $US499/tonne January 2016 ‐ $US399/tonne

NZ/US Exchange Rate down 25%    June 2014 – $0.8670    January 2016 ‐ $0.6540

NZ Floating Interest Rate down 1%    June 2014 – 6.07%    January 2016 ‐ 5.1%

NZ Inflation Rate down    June 2014 – 1.6%    January 2016 – 0.1%

It appears that the global economy is facing challenges on a similar scale to those of the GFC five years ago.

In 2008, the problems arose from over‐priced assets in the US and EU markets, and with incompetent finance sectors in those markets.

The current problems appear to arise from a slowdown in the economies of emerging markets (China and India), upon which western markets have become increasingly dependent over the last 10 years.

The implication for NZ agriculture will depend on how the combination of “plusses” and “minuses” balances out . . .

NZ Agriculture Hangs in the Balance

On one hand we have depressed in‐market prices for red meat, grain and dairy produce.

On the other hand we have record‐low interest rates, record‐low inflation, a weaker exchange rate, low fuel prices, low freight prices, low electricity prices and lower fertiliser prices.

We have the TPP about to be signed. We have a low‐cost grass‐fed production base.

There’s got to be something to work with here.

Possibly the biggest challenge is to accept the reality that commodity prices are going to remain highly variable, and that driving Efficiency of Production is the main tool that farmers have to secure profitability in the coming years.

During the ag-sag of the 80s we faced plummeting prices for what we were selling and high prices for a lot of what we had to buy, wide spread trade restrictions and tariffs, inflation nearing 20% and interest rates even higher.

Produce prices are low and not likely to go very high very fast.

But on the plus side we’ve also got lower costs of fuel and other inputs, better trade access, and low inflation and interest rates.

Those of us who survived the ag-sag also know that there’s no point wasting energy worrying about what we can’t control and opportunities from concentrating on what we can control.

P.S. The AgLetter is a weekly publication from Baker & Associates. You can find how to subscribe and back copies here.

It’s always a good read.


Saturday soapbox

January 23, 2016

Saturday’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, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Sue Fitzmaurice, Author's photo.

How does a know-it-all not know how annoying they are?! – Sue Fitzmaurice


January 23 in history

January 23, 2016

971 – In China, the war elephant corps of the Southern Han were soundly defeated at Shao by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops. The Southern Han state was forced to submit to the Song Dynasty, ending not only Southern Han rule, but also the first regular war elephant corps employed in a Chinese army that had gained the Southern Han victories throughout the 10th century.

1368  Zhu Yuanzhang ascended to the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming Dynasty rule over China that lasted for three centuries.

1510  Henry VIII, then 18 years old, appeared incognito in the lists at Richmond, and was applauded for his jousting before he reveals his identity.

1556 The deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hit Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.

1570  The assassination of regent James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moraythrew Scotland into civil war.

1571 The Royal Exchange opened in London.

1579 The Union of Utrecht formed a Protestant republic in the Netherlands.

1656 Blaise Pascal published the first of his Lettres provinciales.

1719 The Principality of Liechtenstein was created within the Holy Roman Empire.

1789  Georgetown College, the first Roman Catholic college in the United States, was founded.

1793 Second Partition of Poland: Russia and Prussia partitioned Poland for the second time.

1813 Camilla Collett, Norwegian writer and feminist, was born  (d. 1895).

1832  Edouard Manet, French artist, was born (d. 1883).

1849  Elizabeth Blackwell the USA’s first female doctor, was awarded her M.D. by the Medical Institute of Geneva, New York.

1855 John Moses Browning, American inventor, was born (d. 1926).

1855 A magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit the Wellington region.

Massive earthquake hits Wellington region

1855  The first bridge over the Mississippi River opened.

1870 U.S. cavalrymen killed 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in the Marias Massacre.

1897  Sir William Samuel Stephenson, Canadian soldier, W.W.II codename, Intrepid. Inspiration for James Bond., was born (d. 1989).

1897 Elva Zona Heaster was found dead.The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.

1899 Emilio Aguinaldo was sworn in as President of the First Philippine Republic.

1904 Ålesund Fire: the Norwegian coastal town Ålesund was devastated by fire, leaving 10,000 people homeless and one person dead.

1907 Charles Curtis of Kansas became the first Native American U.S. Senator.

1912 The International Opium Convention was signed at The Hague.

1920  The Netherlands refused to surrender ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to the Allies.

1943 Troops of Montgomery‘s 8th Army captured Tripoli from the German-Italian Panzer Army.

1943  World War II: Australian and American forces defeated the Japanese army in Papua. This turning point in the Pacific War marked the beginning of the end of Japanese aggression.

1943 Duke Ellington played at Carnegie Hall  for the first time.

1948  Anita Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born.

1950 – The Knesset passed a resolution that stated Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

1951 Yachts left Wellington bound for Lyttelton in an ocean yacht race to celebrate Canterbury’s centenary.  Only one, Tawhiri, officially finished the race. Two other yachts, Husky and Argo, were lost along with their 10 crew members.

Disastrous centennial yacht race begins

1951 – Chesley Sullenberger, Captain of US Airways Flight 1549, a flight that successfully ditched into the Hudson River, was born.

1957  Princess Caroline of Monaco, was born.

1958 Overthrow in Venezuela of Marcos Pérez Jiménez

1960 The bathyscaphe USS Trieste broke a depth record by descending to 10,911 m (35,798 feet) in the Pacific Ocean.

1964 The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, was ratified.

1973 President Richard Nixon announced that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.

1973 A volcanic eruption devastated Heimaey in the Vestmannaeyjar chain of islands off the south coast of Iceland.

1985 O.J. Simpson became the first Heisman Trophy winner elected to the Football Hall of Fame.

1986  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first members: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers,Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

1997 Madeleine Albright became the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.

2003 Final communication between Earth and Pioneer 10

2009 Dendermonde nursery attack in Dendermonde, Belgium.

2010 – Protests took place in 60 Canadian cities against the prorogation of the 40th Canadian Parliament.

2012 – A group of Gaddafi loyalists took control of part of the town of Bani Walid and flew the green flag after a battle with NTC forces left 5 dead and 20 injured.

2014  – A fire broke out in a L’Isle Verte, Quebec elderly home, killing 28 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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