Word of the day

March 31, 2016

Younker – a young nobleman; youngster.


366 days of gratitude

March 31, 2016

Biologically speaking tomato is classified as a fruit not a vegetable.

Be that as it may I’m not going to add one to a fruit salad.

I do however top my morning toast with at least one, add some to cheese for a sandwich at lunch and grill several for dinner most evenings over summer.

The plants in our glasshouse were very slow to ripen this season but we’ve now got them in abundance.

Whether it’s imagination or not, these home-grown tomatoes taste better than commercially produced ones and I’ll be making soup/pasta sauce with the surplus.

Today I’m grateful for tomatoes in abundance.


Thursday’s quiz

March 31, 2016

You’re welcome to pose the questions with no need to follow the five-question formula I used.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win an electronic bunch of gladioli.


Quote of the day

March 31, 2016

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. –  Rene Descartes who was born on this day in 1596


March 31 in history

March 31, 2016

1146 Bernard of Clairvauxpreached his sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade.

1492 Queen Isabella of Castille issued the Alhambra decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.

1596 René Descartes, French mathematician, was born (d. 1650).

1621 Andrew Marvell, English poet, was born  (d. 1678).

1717 A sermon on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ” by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy.

1732 Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer, was born (d. 1809).

1774 American Revolutionary War: The Great Britain ordered the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.

1822  The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix.

1854 Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.

1864 – Rewi’s last stand. The last battle of the Waikato War began when the spearhead of a 1200-strong British force charged an apparently weak Māori position at Ōrākau, south-east of Te Awamutu.

1866 The Spanish Navy bombed the harbour of Valparaíso, Chile.1885  The United Kingdom established a protectorate over Bechuanaland.

1889 The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated.

1903 Richard Pearse made a powered flight in an early aircraft.

1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (laterNational Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for amateur sports in the United States.

1909 Serbia accepted Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1909 Construction began on the RMS Titanic.

1910 – the Hocken library opened at the Otago Museum.

 

1912 Construction was completed on the RMS Titanic.

1917 The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

1921 The Royal Australian Air Force was formed.

1926 John Fowles, English author, was born (d. 2005).

1930 The Motion Pictures Production Code was instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next thirty eight years.

1931  An earthquake destroyed Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000.

1933 The Civilian Conservation Corps was established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment.

1935 Herb Alpert, American trumpeter and band leader, was born.

1936 Marge Piercy, American writer, was born.

1940 The funeral of Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage took place.

Funeral of Labour PM Savage

1942  World War II: Japanese forces invaded Christmas Island, then a British possession.

1942 Holocaust in Ivano-Frankivsk (then called Stanislawow), western Ukraine. German Gestapo organised the first deportation of 5,000 Jews from Stanislawow ghetto to Belzec death camp.

1946 – The first election was held in Greece after World War II.

1947  César Gaviria Trujillo, former President of Colombia, was born.

1948 Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1951 Remington Rand delivered the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau.

1955 Angus Young, Scottish-born Australian guitarist (AC/DC), was born.

1955  Robert Vance, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1959 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crossed the border into India and was granted political asylum.

1964 The Dictatorship in Brazil, under the aegis of general Castello Branco, began.

1965 Iberia Airlines Convair 440 crashed into the sea on approach to Tangier, killing 47 of 51 occupants.

1966 The Soviet Union launched Luna 10 which became the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.

1967 – Fred Ladd flew under the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

1970 Explorer 1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere (after 12 years in orbit).

1970 Nine terrorists from the Japanese Red Army hijack Japan Airlines Flight 351 at Tokyo International Airport, wielding samurai swords and carrying a bomb.

1972 Alejandro Amenábar, Spanish film director, was born.

1979 The last British soldier left Malta which declared its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien).

1986 – Six metropolitan county councils were abolished in England.

1990 200,000 protestors took to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.

1991 The Islamic Constitutional Movement, or Hadas, was established in Kuwait.

1991 Georgian independence referendum, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters supported the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

1992 The USS Missouri (BB-63), the last active United States NavyBattleship, was decommissioned.

199 The journal Nature reported the finding in Ethiopia of the first completeAustralopithecus afarensis skull.

1995 In Corpus Christi, Texas, Latin superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her own fan club.

1998 Netscape released the code base of its browser under an open-source license agreement; with code name Mozilla and which was spun off into the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.

 

2004 In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, were killed and their bodies mutilated after being ambushed.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

March 30, 2016

I wasn’t going to buy any more books until I’d finished all the ones on the to-be-read pile.

But life is too short to by-pass the possibility of a good read even if I’m going to have to wait to read it.

Today I’m grateful for something to add to my to-be-read pile and the feeling of security that comes with it from knowing I’m more than enough books away from having nothing new to read.


Word of the day

March 30, 2016

Dysania – the state of finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.


Quote of the day

March 30, 2016

There’s nothing I enjoy more than listening to a highly trained intelligence leapfrogging common sense and coming to the wrong conclusions. It gives me renewed faith in parliamentary democracy. – Tom Sharpe who was born on this day in 1928.


March 30 in history

March 30, 2016

240 BC 1st recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.

1282 The people of Sicily rebelled against the Angevin KingCharles I, in what became known as the Sicilian Vespers.

1296 Edward I sacked Berwick-upon-Tweed, during armed conflict between Scotland and England.

1746 Francisco Goya, Spanish painter, was born  (d. 1828).

1811 Robert Bunsen, German chemist, was born (d. 1899).

1814 Napoleonic Wars: Sixth Coalition forces marched into Paris.

1814 – Joachim Murat issued the Rimini Declaration which later inspired Italian Unification.

1820 Anna Sewell, British author, was born (d. 1878).

1842 Anesthesia was used for the first time in an operation by Dr Crawford Long.

1844 One of the most important battles of the Dominican War of Independence from Haiti took place near the city of Santiago de los Caballeros.

1853 Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter, was born  (d. 1890).

1855 Origins of the American Civil War: Bleeding Kansas – “Border Ruffians” from Missouri invaded Kansas and forced election of a pro-slavery legislature.

1856 The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War.

1858 Hymen Lipman patented a pencil with an attached rubber.

1863 Danish prince Wilhelm Georg was chosen as King George of Greece.

1864 Franz Oppenheimer, German sociologist, was born (d. 1943).

1867 Alaska was purchased for $7.2 million, about 2 cent/acre ($4.19/km²), by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward. The media called this Seward’s Folly.

1870 Texas was readmitted to the Union following Reconstruction.

1885 The Battle for Kushka triggered the Pandjeh Incident which nearly gave rise to war between the British and Russian Empires.

1909 The Queensboro Bridge opened, linking Manhattan and Queens.

1910  The Mississippi Legislature founded The University of Southern Mississippi.

1912 Sultan Abdelhafid signed the Treaty of Fez, making Morocco a French protectorate.

1913 Frankie Laine, American singer, was born (d. 2007).

1918 Outburst of bloody March Events in Baku and other locations of Baku Governorate.

1928 Tom Sharpe, English satirical author, was born (d. 2013).

1930 Rolf Harris, Australian artist and entertainer, was born.

1937 Warren Beatty, American actor and director, was born.

1939 The Heinkel He 100 fighter sets a world airspeed record of 463 mph.

1939 – First flight of the Australian C.A.C. CA-16 Wirraway.

1940 – Funeral procession for Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.

1940 Sino-Japanese War: Japan declared Nanking to be the capital of a new Chinese puppet government, nominally controlled by Wang Ching-wei.

1941 Graeme Edge, British musician (Moody Blues), was born.

1945  Eric Clapton, British guitarist, was born.

1945 World War II: Soviet Union forces invaded Austria and took Vienna; Polish and Soviet forces liberated Gdańsk.

1945 – World War II: a defecting German pilot delivered a MesserschmittMe 262A-1 to the Americans.

1949  A riot broke out in Austurvöllur square in Reykjavík, when Iceland joined NATO.

1950 Robbie Coltrane, Scottish actor and comedian, was born.

1954  Yonge Street subway line opened in Toronto, the first subway in Canada.

1959 Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis, who was convicted of child abuse at the Christchurch Civic Creche, was born.

1961  The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was signed in New York.

1962 MC Hammer, American rap musician, was born.

1964 Tracy Chapman, American singer, was born,

1965 Vietnam War: A car bomb exploded in front of the US Embassy, Saigon, killing 22 and wounding 183 others.

1968 Celine Dion, Canadian singer, was born.

1972  Vietnam War: The Easter Offensive began after North Vietnamese forces cross into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of South Vietnam.

1979 Airey Neave, a British MP, was killed by a car bomb as left the Palace of Westminster. The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

1979 Norah Jones, American musician, was born.

1981 President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John Hinckley, Jr.

1982 Space Shuttle programme: STS-3 Mission was completed with the landing of Columbia at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

2004 – Historian Michael King died.

2006  The United Kingdom Terrorism Act 2006 became law.

2009 – Twelve gunmen attacked the Manawan Police Academy in Lahore, Pakistan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

March 29, 2016

The sign a few hundred metres from our house signalling a right-hand bend has been knocked over.

I noticed it on my walk this morning and phoned the District Council to report it.

I was expecting to have to go through at least a couple of people before getting to where I needed to be. But the woman who took the call asked me for the details and said she’d pass all the information on to the people who would replace the pole.

Today I’m grateful for a real person at the end of the phone who was both willing and able to deal with my report efficiently.


Word of the day

March 29, 2016

Stygian – relating to the River Styx; extremely dark, gloomy, or forbidding;  hellish, infernal; unbreakable or completely binding or inviolable (said of an oath).


Rural round-up

March 29, 2016

Rural economy is not all doom and gloom:

All is not gloomy in the agricultural community even though collapsing dairy prices have left a hole at the heart of the sector, New Zealand farming analysts say.

And while dairy problems are having a ricochet effect on other farmers, some areas of the rural economy are doing well and others are booming.

One of the most optimistic sectors is the apple and pear industry. . . 

Not enough mouths – Annette Scott:

Rain has hit the spot for much of the South Island’s parched farmland but with it has come a new challenge – what to do with the feed.

The countrywide shortage of livestock was starting to kick in sooner than expected, Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Peter Reveley said.

“We have had some absolutely brilliant rain. . . 

Waikato Lavender Farm owners farewell business after 20 years – Kelsey Wilkie:

After 20 years at the helm, the founders of Waikato’s Lavender Farm are moving on.

Ian and Bev Parlane opened the gates to the Alphra Lavenders farm at Orakau, 8km south of Te Awamutu, 20 years ago.

The purple garden spreads across one hectare.  . . 

Ham-fisted definitely, incompetent possibly – Allan Barber:

Fonterra’s succession of ultimatums to its suppliers smack of ham-fisted bullying and incompetence. The company’s first ultimatum was to push payment terms out to 90 days for a ‘small percentage’ of its New Zealand suppliers in line with its global practice , followed by an invitation to attend Dragon’s Den type negotiating sessions in which it has served notice it will demand 20% price reductions.

There is nothing wrong or sinister about a customer trying to negotiate better terms of trade as a means of increasing efficiency, but in Fonterra’s case the company appears to have completely ignored the value of proper communication and relationships with its suppliers. Many of these will be contractors that have devoted resources and valuable service over a number of years; these contractors will be an integral cog in the life and prosperity of the rural communities they serve and live in. . . 

Political high-fliers win farming award: ‘Cows don’t talk back’  – Gerald Piddock:

Two novices running a dairy farm have taken the title of regional Share Farmers of the Year – and it’s not just their career change that’s gaining attention. 

Matthew Herbert and Brad Markham say they are also the first same-sex couple to win a trophy at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

The former political advisor and journalist crossed the ditch two years ago, swapping talk with Australia’s top politicians to pulling teats on a dairy farm. . . 

These vitamin fortified bananas might get you thinking differently about GMOs – Nathanael Johnson:

In the winter of 2014, students at Iowa State University received emails asking them to volunteer for an experiment. Researchers were looking for women who would eat bananas that had been genetically engineered to produce extra carotenes, the yellow-orange nutrients that take their name from carrots. Our bodies use alpha and beta carotenes to make retinol, better known as vitamin A, and the experiment was testing how much of the carotenes in the bananas would transform to vitamin A. The researchers were part of an international team trying to end vitamin A deficiency.

The emails reached the volunteers they needed to begin the experiment, but they also reached protesters. “As a student in the sustainability program, I immediately started asking questions,” said Iowa State postdoc Rivka Fidel. “Is this proven safe? Have they considered the broader cultural and economic issues?” . . .

New Zealand’s fisheries performing well:

New Zealand’s fisheries continue to perform well, Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst says.

He was commenting on the latest Status of New Zealand Fisheries report published by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Around 83 per cent of individual fish stocks of known status and almost 97 per cent of landings are above or well above levels where their sustainability would be a cause for concern, he says.

“These figures are the result of a robust process and show that we are as good as or beyond the standard of the best in the world,” he says. . . 


More than a little stupid

March 29, 2016

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, which is stupidest of all?

Strong arming banks and legislation was rightly met with indignation.

Then came 200 bucks for “free”, funded from tax paid by you and me.

And now you want the flag to change by whatever process you arrange.

If you think you’re going to pick it, you know just where you can stick it.

 

March hasn’t been a good month for Andrew Little, the Labour Party and anyone with hopes they might soon be fit to lead a government.

Little’s attempt to get onside with farmers by suggestions of strong arming banks and legislating to force them to reduce interest rates was met with the derision it deserved.

Then he came up with the proposal of a Universal Basic Income which, as the Herald points out is an idea that’s more bad than good  :

. . . The economy would suffer under punitive levels of taxation, avoidance would be rife, and the benefits would be illusory. . . 

The Taxpayers’ Union points out a UBI would require income tax rates of 50% or more:

A Universal Basic Income which avoided superannuates and beneficiaries being made worse off would require a flat rate income tax of more than 50% or drastic cuts in government services to pay for it, according to a new report released today.

The report, Money for all: the winners and losers from a Universal Basic Income, by economist Jim Rose, examines the Labour Party’s “Future of Work” proposal for a UBI and the more modest proposal by the Morgan Foundation.

A more affordable version of Labour’s scheme, such as that proposed by the Morgan Foundation of $11,000 per annum ($210 per week), would cost $11 billion dollars more than the existing welfare system, while making solo mothers $150 per week worse off. For superannuates, a UBI at this level would see their weekly income reduced by $50.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“We find it startling that the Labour Party would be floating the idea of a replacement to the welfare system that would see those most vulnerable in society being far worse off. A UBI replaces helping those most in need with handouts to the middle-class and millionaires.”

“If you take Labour’s assurances that no one will be left worse off under their UBI, the amount would need to be so high that Treasury’s economic modelling suggests that a flat income tax of between 50.6% and 55.7% would be needed to pay for it.”

“Here is a political party which for years has rightly been telling New Zealanders that current superannuation entitlements are unaffordable. Now they want to effectively extend the same scheme to every New Zealander from the age of 18.”

“The Morgan Foundation proposes to pay for its more modest UBI with a tax on those holding capital. Such a tax would incentivise all those modern and innovative industries Labour want to encourage, to shift off-shore.”

Jim Rose, the author of the report, says:

“We don’t believe Labour have fully considered the consequence of a UBI on labour supply and economic incentives. People would almost certainly work fewer hours meaning that the burden of supporting the programme would be borne by a fewer number of taxable working hours, potentially requiring even further tax increases.”

“Even the Labour Party’s own paper concedes that the taxes that would be required to fund a UBI higher than $11,000 per year may be ‘unrealistically high’. The analysis in the report certainly backs that.”

Key points and conclusions:

• The Morgan proposal would cost $10 billion more than the current welfare system but leave those most in need worse off.

• For a UBI to achieve any reduction in poverty levels, or to avoid it costing those in society who most need help, much higher taxes are required. These reduce the incentives to work and economic growth.

• A UBI which allowed those currently receiving benefits and/or superannuation would need to be at least $15,000 per year (equivalent to the current average level of benefits). To pay for this, Treasury estimate that a flat income tax of between 45% and 56% would need to be introduced (assuming other taxes stayed equal).

• Child poverty is not reduced by a UBI less than $15,000 per year because single parents receive no more income support than before.

• A UBI would likely push the New Zealand economy into recession off the back of the reduced labour supply from the windfall increase in incomes alone.

One of the National-led government’s successes is a reduction in number of people in long term benefit dependency with all the financial and social costs that go with it.

A UBI would reverse the good done by that and encourage more people into welfare dependency.

Not content with these two bad ideas, this morning Little has come up with another:

In the wake of the flag referendum, the opposition leader said he voted against the alternative as it “doesn’t reflect anything about New Zealand at all”.

“I’m pleased to say we haven’t adopted it,” he said. 

Mr Little said the country should revisit the issue “sooner rather than later”, suggesting a flag that “genuinely represents who we are, the diversity that is New Zealand”. 

Doesn’t reflect anything about New Zealand at all? Anyone’s views on the merits of the alternative flag are a matter of opinion but there is no arguing that the Southern Cross reflects New Zealand’s place in the world and that the fern is recognised as a symbol of New Zealand here and abroad.

It was used long before sports teams adopted it and they did so for that reason.

That aside, there is a mood for change but Little can’t lead it.

He voted for the legislation which set the process, campaigned for Labour with a policy to change the flag then, after the election put political expediency before his principles by criticising the process, the timing and the cost.

The time to criticise the process was before voting for it.

If the timing was wrong last week, it can’t be right this week.

And if the cost of the process we’ve just gone through was too high, another process “sooner rather than later” is even higher.

The party partisan part of me is amused by the way Little stumbles from one demonstration that he’s more than a little stupid to another.

The rest of me is concerned that the leader of the second biggest party in government keeps showing he’s ill-fitted to lead the Opposition let alone a government.

 

 


Quote of the day

March 29, 2016

Talent is always more interesting – ambition is not interesting. If you have talent, you have to find ways of expressing it, but you may not be a success in the world’s terms. Eric Idle who celebrates his 73rd birthday today.


March 29 in history

March 29, 2016

1461 Battle of Towton – Edward of York defeated Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England.

1549 Salvador da Bahia, the first capital of Brazil, was founded.

1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed, returning Quebec to French control after the English had seized it in 1629.

1638 Swedish colonists established the first settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden.

1790 John Tyler, 10th President of the United States, was born  (d. 1862).

1792 King Gustav III of Sweden died after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball 13 days earlier.

1799 Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1869).

1806 Construction was authorised of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, the first United States federal highway.

1809 King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden abdicated after a coup d’état.

1809 At the Diet of Porvoo, Finland’s four Estates pledged allegiance to Alexander I of Russia, commencing the secession of the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden.

1831 Great Bosnian uprising: Bosniak rebel against Turkey.

1847 Mexican-American War: United States forces led by General Winfield Scott took Veracruz after a siege.

1849 The United Kingdom annexed the Punjab.

1857 Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry revolted against the British rule in India and inspired a long-drawn War of Independence of 1857 also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.

1865 American Civil War: The Battle of Appomattox Court House began.

1867 Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the British North America Actwhich established the Dominion of Canada on July 1.

1870 Pavlos Melas, Greek officer who organized and participated in the Greek Struggle for Macedonia, was born  (d. 1904).

1871 The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.

1879 Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeated 20,000 Zulus.

1882 The Knights of Columbus were established.

1886 Dr John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia.

1900 John McEwen, eighteenth Prime Minister of Australia, was born  (d. 1980).

1901 Skipppers Bridge over the Shotover River opened.

1902 William Walton, English composer, was born  (d. 1983).

1911 The M1911 .45 ACP pistol became the official U.S. Army side arm.

1916 Eugene McCarthy, American politician, was born (d. 2005).

1930 Heinrich Brüning was appointed German Reichskanzler.

1936 In Germany, Adolf Hitler received 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany’s illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland, receiving 44.5 million votes out of 45.5 million registered voters.

1941 World War II: British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy forces defeated those of the Italian Regia Marina off the Peloponnesus coast of Greece in the Battle of Cape Matapan.

1942 Nazi sabotage hoax – career criminal Sydney Ross met the minister of national service, Robert Semple, in Wellington and claimed he had been approached by a German agent to join a sabotage cell and that Nazi agents had landed by submarine and were living at Ngongotaha, Rotorua. Ross was taken to see Prime Minister Peter Fraser, who referred the matter to Major Kenneth Folkes, a British intelligence officer brought to New Zealand to set up the Security Intelligence Bureau.

Nazi sabotage hoax

 

1942 The Bombing of Lübeck was the first major success for the RAF Bomber Command against Germany and a German city.

1943 Eric Idle, English actor, writer, and composer, was born.

1943 Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1943 Vangelis, Greek musician and composer, was born .

1945  Last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England.

1957 The New York, Ontario and Western Railway made its final run.

1959 – Evangelist Billy Graham arrived in New Zealand for an 11-day crusade.

1961 The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.

1963 Elle Macpherson, Australian model, was born.

1968 Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress and singer, was born.

1971 – A Los Angeles, California jury recommended the death penalty forCharles Manson and three female followers.

1973 Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers left South Vietnam.

1974 NASA’s Mariner 10 became the first spaceprobe to fly by Mercury.

1982 The Telegu Desam Party (India’s regional political party) was established by N. T. Rama Rao.

1982 – The Canada Act 1982 (U.K.) received the Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II, setting the stage for the Queen of Canada to proclaim theConstitution Act, 1982.

1987 WrestleMania III set a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome with 93,173 fans.

1993 Catherine Callbeck became premier of Prince Edward Island and Canada’s first female to be elected in a general election as a premier.

1999 The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 mark (10,006.78) for the first time ever, during the height of the internet boom.

2004 Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined NATO as full members.

2004 The Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants.

2008-  35 Countries & more 370 cities joined Earth Hour for the first time.

2010 – Two female suicide bombers hit the Moscow Metro system at the peak of the morning rush hour, killing 40.

2013 – At least 36 people were killed when a 16-floor building collapsed in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2013 – A landslide killed 66 people in China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region near Lhasa.

2014 – The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales were performed.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

March 28, 2016

When you’re self-employed you often work more than a five-day week and you can sometimes take a day off when it’s not a weekend or a holiday.

But when the rest of the country more or less observes a working week and a weekend you tend to follow suit.

This weekend we went to Wanaka on Thursday and came back yesterday to avoid the traffic.

That has given us a bonus day off at home where it feels like Sunday although it’s Monday.

Today I’m grateful for a long weekend.

 


Word of the day

March 28, 2016

Refulgent – shining with, or reflecting, a brilliant light; radiant, resplendent; gleaming, lustrous.


Thanks Frank Torley

March 28, 2016

Veteran broadcaster and the man who for many was  the voice of Country Calendar, Frank Torley, has died.

Frank retired as the narrator on Country Calendar in February because of problems with his vocal cords. . . 

Frank helped on his uncle’s farm as a teenager and was employed as a stock and station agent.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Frank was a small-scale kiwifruit orchardist in the 1980s.

He also owned a lifestyle block in Rangitikei.

Frank was committed to the craft of television. He loved words, his family said. 

“He’d be on the road shooting stories, then spend hours in his home office tapping out scripts on his computer or setting up the next story over the phone.” . . 

The news comes just weeks after the well-loved New Zealand farming series turned 50 years.

After working on farms in his earlier years, Frank he joined a stock firm.

He was plucked from the Feilding saleyards to join the NZBC as a rural broadcaster.

That eventually led to a job on Country Calendar. He has remained with the show ever since.

Frank became producer in the early 1980s, a role he continued until 2006.

He then went back to his first love: back on the road directing programmes.

In 2014 and 2015, he narrated all the Country Calendar episodes.

 He as a wonderful broadcaster.

He made country life and work accessible and interesting  to people who never stepped foot on a farm without dumbing-down the subject.

In doing so he made a significant contribution to bridging the rural-urban divide.


Rural round-up

March 28, 2016

Onus put on everyone to keep safe on farms – WorkSafe – Brittany Pickett:

The responsibility of farmers to ensure safety on farms remains mostly unaltered with the new health and safety legislation, says WorkSafe NZ chief executive Gordon MacDonald.

The Health and Safety at Work Act comes into effect on April 4.

The new act puts the responsibility onto almost everyone on a farm to ensure the health and safety of themselves and the people around them.

They must be accountable and identify hazards and risks, taking steps to prevent them from happening, and hold regular training and reviews of incidents with frequent health and safety audits. . . 

Resources to back up health and safety laws – Sally Rae:

Helping people through the “demystification” of health and safety is not about having endless ring binders on the shelf gathering dust, WorkSafe chief executive Gordon MacDonald says.

Instead, there are great resources available and implementation of the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) next week was an opportunity for people to review what their own approach was to health and safety.

For the farming community, it was not a question of “eliminating risks from life or getting obsessed by paper cuts”; it was about stuff that caused life-changing and life-ending injuries to people, Mr MacDonald said. . . 

‘A cool bit of science’ – Sally Rae:

AgResearch scientist Sara Edwards is on a quest to help find out why the reproductive performance of hoggets is so poor.

Dr Edwards is reproduction team leader, based at Invermay, where a hogget trial has been conducted over two years at the research centre’s farm, near Mosgiel.

Much work had been done to try to improve the efficiency of hogget lambing using management practices.

Hoggets produce about half the lambs mature ewes do but the underlying question remained as to what was going wrong, Dr Edwards said. . . 

Life on the ridge of sighs – Kate Taylor:

Adrian Arnold glances at the sky and wonders out loud if the flurry of raindrops will come to anything.

Even the slightest hint of rain is enough to send a farmer scurrying back to the woolshed in the middle of shearing to make sure he has enough sheep under cover – in this case, the remainder of 600 two-tooth ewes due for a campylobacter vaccine after shearing.

Adrian grew up at Kaiwaka, north-east of Napier, and has been farming the family’s 425ha property with wife Kim since 1987. . .

Understanding European dairy – Keith Woodford:

In working out the long term positioning for the New Zealand dairy industry, we have to ask ourselves four big questions:
• What will happen in China?
• What will happen to oil prices?
• What will happen in America?
• What will happen in Europe?
In this article I will focus on Europe.

The need to shed some myths
To understand the fundamental changes that are occurring in European dairy, we need to first shed some myths. Dominant among these myths is that the European industry only survives because of subsidies. . . 

Annual Otago shoot culls 10,000 rabbits:

There are 10,011 fewer pest rabbits on Central Otago farms thanks to the annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt.

The 328 hunters who took part in the annual event assembled in Pioneer Park in Alexandra at midday today for the count and prizegiving and a team called Down South took top honours for a second consecutive year with a kill of 889 rabbits.

Team leader Brett Middleton from Winton says the team has been competing for six years and in four of them it has been in the top five. . . 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.


Quote of the day

March 28, 2016

It’s not so much about what you ask as what you don’t ask.Michael Parkinson who celebrates his 81st birthday today.


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