366 days of gratitude

October 15, 2016

My farmer reckons he’s never seen North Otago looking better.

We can almost see the grass growing even though no-one’s started irrigating yet.

To put that into context, one very dry year we started irrigating in early August.

This year, the combination of enough, but not too much, rain and warm temperatures is fostering growth of pasture and crops with no need of added water.

It’s a spring out of the box and I’m very grateful for it.


Word of the day

October 15, 2016

Stridulous – having or making a grating sound; shrill or grating; relating to or characterised by stridor.


Saturday’s smiles

October 15, 2016

These are a bit punful:

  1. A vulture boarded an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons.  The flight attendant looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
  1. Two fish swam into a concrete wall.  The one turned to the other and said “Dam!
  1. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft.  Unsurprisingly it immediately sank, proving that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
  1. Two hydrogen atoms met.  One said “I’ve lost my electron.” The other said “Are you sure?” The first replied “Yes, I’m positive.”
  1. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
  1. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse.  “But why?” they asked, as they moved off. “Because,” he said,” I can’t stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
  1. A woman had identical twins and was forced to give them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and was named “Ahmal.” The other went to a family in Spain ; they named him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sent a picture of himself to his birth mother.  Upon receiving the picture, she told her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Ahmal.  Her husband responded, “They’re identical twins!  If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”
  1. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds.  Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair.  He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not.  He went back and begged the friars to close.  They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to “persuade” them to close.  Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he’d be back if they didn’t close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.
  1. Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet.  He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath.  This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
  1. Someone sent ten different puns to friends with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh.  No pun in ten did.

Saturday soapbox

October 15, 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.

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I love when people who have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by fire. – Stephanie Sparkles.


October 15 in history

October 15, 2016

70 BC  Virgil, Roman poet, was born (d. 19 BC).

533  Byzantine general Belisarius made his formal entry into Carthage, having conquered it from the Vandals.

1582 Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year was followed directly by October 15.

1701 – Marie-Marguerite d’Youville, Canadian nun and saint, founded Grey Nuns, was born (d. 1771).

1764 Edward Gibbon observed a group of friars singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome, which inspired him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

1783 The Montgolfier brothers‘ hot air balloon marked the first human ascent, by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, (tethered balloon).

1793 Queen Marie-Antoinette was tried and condemned in a swift, pre-determined trial.

1814  – Mikhail Lermontov, Russian author, poet, and painter, was born (d. 1841).

1815 Napoleon I of France began his exile on Saint Helena.

1836 – James Tissot, French painter and illustrator, was born (d. 1902).

1844 Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, was born (d. 1900).

1863  American Civil War: The H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sank during a test, killing its inventor, Horace L. Hunley.

1864  American Civil War: The Battle of Glasgow was fought, resulting in the surrender of Glasgow, Missouri and its Union garrison, to the Confederacy.

1877 Sir Geroge Grey, former Governor, became Premier of New Zealand.

Former Governor Grey becomes Premier

1878  The Edison Electric Light Company began operation.

1880  Mexican soldiers killed Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists.

1881 P. G. Wodehouse, British novelist, was born (d. 1975).

1888 The “From Hell” letter sent by Jack the Ripper was received by the investigators.

1894  Alfred Dreyfus was arrested for spying.

1905  – C. P. Snow, English chemist and author, was born (d. 1980).

1906 – Alicia Patterson, American journalist and publisher, co-founded Newsday, was born (d. 1963).

1906 – Victoria Spivey, American singer-songwriter and pianist, was born (d. 1976).

1908 John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-born US economist, was born (d. 2006).

1917 World War I: Dutch dancer Mata Hari was executed by firing squad for spying for the German Empire.

1920 Mario Puzo, American novelist, was born (d. 1999).

1924 – Marguerite Andersen, German-Canadian author and educator, was born.

1924 Lee Iacocca, American industrialist, was born.

1926 – Ed McBain, American author and screenwriter (d. 2005), was born.

1928 The airship, the Graf Zeppelin completed its first trans-Atlantic flight.

1932 Tata Airlines (later to become Air India) made its first flight.

1934 The Soviet Republic of China collapsed when Chiang Kai-shek’s National Revolutionary Army successfully encircled Ruijin, forcing the fleeing Communists to begin the Long March.

1939 The New York Municipal Airport (later renamed La Guardia Airport) was dedicated.

1942 – Seventeen New Zealand coastwatchers and five civilians who had been captured in the Gilbert Islands were executed by the Japanese.

NZ coastwatchers executed by the Japanese

1944  The Arrow Cross Party took power in Hungary.

1945 World War II: The former premier of Vichy France Pierre Laval was shot by a firing squad for treason.

1946  Nuremberg Trials: Hermann Göring poisoned himself the night before his execution.

1948  – Chris de Burgh, Argentinian singer-songwriter and pianist.

1951  Mexican chemist Luis E. Miramontes conducted the very last step of the first synthesis of norethisterone, the progestin that would later be used in one of the first two oral contraceptives.

1953  British nuclear test Totem 1 detonated at Emu Field, South Australia.

1956  Fortran, the first modern computer language, was shared with the coding community for the first time.

1959 Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was born.

1965 Vietnam War: The National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam stages the first public burning of a draft card in the United States to result in arrest under a new law.

1966  Black Panther Party was created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

1970 Thirty-five construction workers were killed when a section of the new West Gate Bridge in Melbourne collapsed.

1970  Aeroflot Flight 244 was hijacked and diverted to Turkey.

1971 The start of the 2500-year celebration of Iran, celebrating the birth of Persia.

1979  Black Monday in Malta. The Building of the Times of Malta, the residence of the opposition leader Eddie Fenech Adami and several Nationalist Party clubs were ransacked and destroyed by supporters of the Malta Labour Party.

1987  The Great Storm of 1987 hit France and England.

1990  Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and open up his nation.

1997  The first supersonic land speed record was set by Andy GreeninThrustSSC.

1997  The Cassini probe launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.

2003  China launched Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.

2003 The Staten Island Ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi ran into a pier at the St. George Ferry Terminal, killing 11 people and injuring 43.

2007  Seventeen activists were arrested in the Ureweara in New Zealand’s first anti-terrorism raids.

'Anti-terror' raids in Urewera

2008 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 733.08 points, or 7.87%, the second worst day in the Dow’s history based on a percentage drop.

2011 – Global protests broke out in 951 cities in 82 countries.

2102 British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond agreed on a deal setting out the terms of a referendum on Scottish independence at a meeting in Edinburgh.

2013 – A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines, resulting in more than 215 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia


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