366 days of gratitude

August 22, 2016

I spent the weekend in Wanaka and decided to make the most of two spare days by improving my fitness.

On Saturday I went up Mt Roy (that’s what the locals call it but maps have it as Roy’s Peak).

I was wearing walking shoes rather than tramping boots with decent grip and after about 45 minutes in snow and 20 or so minutes from the top decided that even with walking poles it was too slippery to continue.

The view from there was still pretty good.

mtroy

Mt Roy

Yesterday I walked to Glendhu Bay and back, a distance of nearly 30 kilometres which took about 6 1/2 hours.

Today my legs are letting me know I’ve had a pretty good workout but the endorphins that come from it more than compensate and I’m grateful for that.

 


Word of the day

August 22, 2016

Aggravator – someone or something that aggravates, intensifies or makes worse; an unpleasant person who is annoying or exasperating.


Rural round-up

August 22, 2016

 

Employment breaches ‘wake-up call’ for Marlborough wine industry – Oliver Lewis:

Widespread employment breaches have been unearthed by an investigation into labour contractors servicing the Marlborough wine industry.

Several labour contractors, who supply wine companies with workers, were found to have breached employment standards by failing to pay their workers minimum wage, holiday pay, or keep proper employment records.

The joint investigation, carried out by the Labour Inspectorate, Immigration New Zealand and Inland Revenue, involved random visits to 10 independent labour contractors around the region. . . 

Old school thinking stunts export gains – Andrea Fox:

New Zealand is stuck in the past figuring how to produce even more low-cost export commodities while the marketing of fine products it already has is “woeful”, says New Zealand Merino boss John Brakenridge.

“We sell commodities at an export value of around $37 billion that reach consumers globally at a value of over $200 billion,” says the chief executive credited with driving merino’s monumental shift from a nearly 100 per cent commodity sold at auction to 70 per cent grown under lucrative contracts to elite wool product makers.

Brakenridge’s call for New Zealand to dramatically lift its marketing and branding game follows another gathering at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley, of New Zealand’s primary sector “bootcamp”, the Te Hono Movement.  Te Hono, founded in 2012 by Brakenridge, says it has so far united 178 chief executives and leaders representing 80 per cent of the primary sector, in a goal to collaborate to transform New Zealand’s approach to doing business globally. It was Te Hono’s fifth workshop at Stanford, where participants work with professors at the world-leading research and new technology university and Silicon Valley business innovators.  . . 

Cashflow boost for Fonterra farmers – Dene Mackenzie:

Fonterra farmers have received a cashflow boost with confirmation of a further 10c per share payment of the co-operative’s 2015-16 40c forecast dividend.

The co-operative had already brought forward an earlier dividend payment during the last financial year.

Its intention was always to declare a further dividend in August, subject to financial performance supporting the forecast earnings per share range of 45c to 55c, chairman John Wilson said in a statement. . . 

North Otago surprised by early, strong arrivals :

Calves have arrived “early and strong” on North Otago dairy farms, Lyndon Strang says.

The Federated Farmers North Otago dairy section chairman said most farmers had started calving about five days ahead of schedule.

“That’s pretty much across the board.”

He could not determine the cause, but said it was going well and there was “plenty of feed available”. . . 

Proud Marlborough beekeeping firm faces challenges as century celebrated – Mike Watson:

Beekeepers are like any other farmers except they don’t have fences for keeping the stock in, says a Marlborough beekeeper celebrating 100 years of commercial honey making.

“At the end of the day, like any farmer, we need healthy stock to control pests and diseases,” said J Bush and Sons managing director Murray Bush.

“We do selective breeding programmes like the sheep and beef guys and we have similar concerns as they do. . .

Ethanol: bad for cars, bad for consumers, bad for the economy and really, really bad for the environment – Mark J, Perry:

An excerpt appears below from my op-ed in yesterday’s US News and World Report “Unwind the Ethanol Mandate” about one of the biggest political boondoggles in history – ethanol and the ethanol mandate. Back in 2007 when political cheerleaders like Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa (the “king of ethanol hype”) were promoting ethanol with fantastic claims like “Everything about ethanol is good, good, good,” Rolling Stone magazine responded with the best sentence on ethanol I’ve ever read: “This is not just hype — it’s dangerous, delusional bullshit.” And what’s notgood at all about demon ethanol (Paul Krugman’s phrase) are the serious negative effects it’s having on the environment: . . 


Does new national day have to be another holiday?

August 22, 2016

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says the government acknowledges the need for a national day to commemorate the land wars.

“The time to recognise our own conflict, our own war, our own fallen, because there is no doubt at Rangiriri ordinary people lost their lives fighting for principle in just the same way as New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives fighting on battlefields on the other side of the world,” Mr English said.

I agree with the need to commemorate the wars which are poorly understood by many.

It wasn’t until I studied New Zealand history at university that the muddled impression I’d got from school was corrected.

But if a new national day is going to necessitate a day off, does it have to be another holiday?

We already have 11 statutory holidays, with penalty rates and days off in lieu for anyone who works on any of these.

Those come on top of four weeks annual leave which adds up to a total of day more than six weeks of paid leave.

If you employ 5 people, that’s 30 weeks or more than half a year, with a staff member off which is a big cost for a small business.

I’m not suggesting we cut holidays but rather than just adding another day, let’s look at all the stat days, when they occur, why and whether any could go in favour of the new day off.

With New Year’s day and January 2nd, Wellington, Auckland,  Nelson, Otago, Southland and Taranaki  Anniversary days, Waitangi Day, Easter and Anzac Day  most people have five or six days off in the first four months of the year on top of annual leave, at least some of which is usually taken at that time.

Then there’s at least five or six weeks until Queen’s Birthday at the start of June and more than four months until Labour weekend in October for all but South Canterbury which has Anniversary Day in late September.

Hawkes Bay and Marlborough’s Anniversary Days fall in late October but are sometimes marked in early November.

Canterbury has Anniversary Day in early November and Westland’s and Chatham Islands’ Anniversary Days are at the end of November, though sometimes marked in early December.

The rest of us have no break for the couple of months from Labour weekend to Christmas.

Replacing all the different Anniversary days would be the easiest if someone was willing to deal with the uproar in Canterbury where theirs coincides with show and cup week.

Queen’s Birthday isn’t actually the Queen’s birthday and it could be replaced. Given how few people know what Labour Day signifies it is another option to give way to the new national day.

A new national day to commemorate an important part of our history is a good idea, but rather than simply adding a 12th statutory holiday,  let’s use it as an opportunity to look at existing statutory holidays and work out a better distribution of long weekends.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Olympic Venn diagram

August 22, 2016

Hat tip: Stats Chat


Quote of the day

August 22, 2016

 Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone. Dorothy Parker who was born on this day in 1893.

She also said:

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

And:

I hate writing, I love having written.

And:

There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.

And:

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.


August 22 in history

August 22, 2016

565  St. Columba reported seeing a monster in Loch Ness.

1138 Battle of the Standard between Scotland and England.

1485  The Battle of Bosworth Field, the death of Richard III and the end of the House of Plantagenet.

1559 Bartolomé Carranza, Spanish archbishop, was arrested for heresy.

1642 Charles I called the English Parliament traitors. The English Civil Warbegan.

1654 Jacob Barsimson arrives in New Amsterdam – the first known Jewish immigrant to America.

1770  James Cook‘s expedition landed on the east coast of Australia.

1780 James Cook‘s ship HMS Resolution returned to England after Cook was killed in Hawaii.

1791  Beginning of the Haitian Slave Revolution in Saint-Domingue.

1798 French troops landed in Kilcummin harbour, County Mayo to aid Wolfe Tone’s United Irishmen’s Irish Rebellion.

1827 José de La Mar became President of Peru.

1831  Nat Turner’s slave rebellion commenced leading to the deaths of more than 50 whites and several hundred African Americans who are killed in retaliation for the uprising.

1849 The first air raid in history. Austria launched pilotless balloons against the Italian city of Venice.

1851 The first America’s Cup was won by the yacht America.

1862 Claude Debussy, French composer, was born (d. 1918).

1864  Twelve nations signed the First Geneva Convention. The Red Crosswas formed.

1875 The Treaty of Saint Petersburg between Japan and Russia was ratified, providing for the exchange of Sakhalin for the Kuril Islands.

1893 Dorothy Parker, American writer, was born (d. 1967).

1901 Cadillac Motor Company was founded.

1902  Theodore Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to ride in an automobile.

1909 Julius J. Epstein, American screenwriter, was born (d. 2000).

1915 James Hillier, Co-inventor of the electron microscope, was born (d. 2007).

1922  Michael Collins, Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Free State Army was shot dead during an Anti-Treaty ambush at Béal na mBláth, County Cork, during the Irish Civil War.

1925 Honor Blackman, English actress, was born.

1926  Gold was discovered in Johannesburg.

1932 The BBC first experimented with television broadcasting.

1934  Bill Woodfull of Australia became the only cricket captain to twice regain The Ashes.

1934 – Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. general, was born.

1934 – Sir Donald McIntyre, English bass-baritone, was born.

1935 E. Annie Proulx, American author, was born.

1939  Valerie Harper, American actress, was born.

1941 World War II: German troops reached Leningrad, leading to the siege of Leningrad.

1942  World War II: Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy.

1944 World War II: Romania wascaptured by the Soviet Union.

1949  Queen Charlotte earthquake: Canada’s largest earthquake since 1700.

1950  Althea Gibson became the first black competitor in international tennis.

1952 The penal colony on Devil’s Island was permanently closed.

1961  Roland Orzabal, British musician (Tears for Fears), was born.

1962 An attempt to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle failed.

196  The NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered cargo ship, completed its maiden voyage.

1963  Joe Walker in an X-15 test plane reached an altitude of 106 km (66 mi).

1968 Pope Paul VI arrived in Bogotá –  the first visit of a pope to Latin America.

1969 New Zealand’s first Young Farmer of the Year contest was won by Gary Frazer.

First 'Young Farmer of the Year' chosen

1972 Rhodesia was expelled by the IOC for its racist policies.

1973 Howie Dorough, American singer (Backstreet Boys), was born.

1978 The Frente Sandinista de Liberacion – FSLN – occupied national palace in Nicaragua.

1989 The first ring of Neptune was discovered.

1996  Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law, representing major shift in US welfare policy

2003  Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.

2004   The Scream and Madonna, two paintings by Edvard Munch, were stolen at gunpoint from a museum in Oslo.

2007 – The Storm botnet, a botnet created by the Storm Worm, sent out a record 57 million e-mails in one day.

2012 – Ethnic clashes over grazing rights for cattle in Kenya’s Tana River District resulted in more than 52 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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