366 days of gratitude

December 8, 2016

The left and the more excitable of the commentariat have been acting like Chicken Little.

Prime Minister John Key has announced his resignation but the sky isn’t falling and the National caucus is not falling apart.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English has more than enough support from his colleagues to become party leader and PM when they meet on Monday.

Minister Judith Collins and Jonathan who were keen for a contest have withdrawn and pledge their support for the PM in waiting.

The leader of the party and the country is changing but stable government, focussed on the issues that matter, maintaining careful management of finances to enable better public services will continue.

I’m very grateful for that.


Word of the day

December 8, 2016

Demulcent – relieving inflammation or irritation; serving to soothe or soften; a soothing, usually mucilaginous or oily substance, such as glycerine or lanolin, used especially to relieve pain in inflamed or irritated mucous membranes.


Thursday’s quiz

December 8, 2016

You are invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual batch of fruit mince pies.


English for Beginners

December 8, 2016

A Facebook meme states there are 12 days of Christmas and none of them are in November.

I agree with the spirit of that message but even though it’s more than 12 days until the 25th, I couldn’t resist this:


Another by-election

December 8, 2016

Labour MP, and former leader, David Shearer has been shoulder-tapped to lead a United Nations mission in South Sudan.

That will prompt another by-election in a safe Labour seat which is a cost to the taxpayer.

But the bigger cost will be to the party which will lose  another moderate MP

It won’t be a lot of fun going from Prime Minister to back bencher but John Key is staying in parliament so as not to trigger a by-election.

Retiring Labour MP, and another former leader, David Cunliffe, has also said he will stay long enough to not trigger a by-election.


Quote of the day

December 8, 2016

But that’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses Bill Bryson who celebrates his 65th birthday today.

He also said:

As my father always used to tell me, ‘You see, son, there’s always someone in the world worse off than you.’ And I always used to think, ‘So?’

And:

There are three stages in scientific discovery. First, people deny that it is true, then they deny that it is important; finally they credit the wrong person.

And

Black bears rarely attack. But here’s the thing. Sometimes they do. All bears are agile, cunning and immensely strong, and they are always hungry. If they want to kill you and eat you, they can, and pretty much whenever they want. That doesn’t happen often, but – and here is the absolutely salient point – once would be enough.


December 8 in history

December 8, 2016

65 BC Horace, Roman poet, was born (d. 8 BC).

1432 – The first battle between the forces of Švitrigaila and Sigismund Kęstutaitis was fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the civil war in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

1542  Mary Queen of Scots, was born (d. 1587).

1609  The Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan opened its reading room, the second public library in Europe.

1660 Margaret Hughes became the first actress to appear on an English public stage, playing the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.

1765 – Eli Whitney, American inventor of the cotton gin, was born  (d. 1825).

1854 –  In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Virgin Mary was born free of original sin.

1864 The Clifton Suspension Bridge over the River Avon was officially opened.

1865 Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer, was born (d. 1957).

1886 Diego Rivera, Mexican painter, was born (d. 1957).

1894 E.C. Segar, American cartoonist (Popeye), was born  (d. 1938).

1894 James Thurber, American humorist and cartoonist, was born  (d. 1961).

1904 Konservativ Ungdom (Young Conservatives)  was founded by Carl F. Herman von Rosen. It is the oldest political youth organization in Denmark and believed to be one of the oldest in the world.

1925  Sammy Davis Jr., American actor and singer, was born (d. 1990).

1933  Flip Wilson, American comedian, was born (d. 1998).

1939 Sir James Galway, Northern Irish flautist, was born.

1941 New Zealand declared war on Japan.
New Zealand declares war on Japan

1941 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 7 to be “a day which will live in infamy“, after which the U.S. and the Republic of China declared war against Japan.

1942 A fire at Seacliff Hospital killed 37 people.
Fire at Seacliff Mental Hospital kills 37

1951 – Bill Bryson, American author, was born.

1953 Kim Basinger, American actress, was born.

1953 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his Atoms for Peace speech, and the U.S. launched its “Atoms for Peace” programme that supplied equipment and information to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.

1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, was struck by positive lightning and crashed near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 people on board.

1966 Sinéad O’Connor, Irish musician, was born.

1966 –  The Greek ship SS Heraklion sank in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.

1972 – United Airlines Flight 553 crashed after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45.

1974 A plebiscite resulted in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.

1980 John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York.

1987 – Croat Frank Vitkovic shotsand killed eight people at the offices of the Australia Post in Melbourne, before being killed himself.

1987 – The Alianza Lima air disaster –  a Peruvian Navy Fokker F27-400M chartered by Peruvian football club Alianza Lima plunged into the Pacific Ocean six miles short of its destination, killing 43 of the 44 people on board.

1991 The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.

1993 The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law by US President Bill Clinton.

1997  Jenny Shipley became New Zealand’s first female Prime Minister.

Jenny Shipley

199 – The Australian Cricket Board’s cover-up of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh’s involvement with bookmakers was revealed.

2004 The Cuzco Declaration was signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.

2005 – Ante Gotovina, a Croatian army general accused of war crimes, was captured in the Playa de las Américas, Tenerife by the Spanish police.

2008  Kirsty Williams was elected as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The first female leader of a political party in Wales.

2009 Bombings in Baghdad, killed 127 and injured 448.

2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX became the first privately held company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.

2010 – The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passed the planet Venus at a distance of about 80,800 km.

2013 – Riots broke out in Singapore after a fatal accident in Little India.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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