366 days of gratitude

December 22, 2016

I first came across Robert Fulghum in Christchurch airport’s bookshop when I was waiting to board a plane for a flight which had been delayed.

The Storyteller’s Creed at the start of All I really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten resonated with me:

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.

I bought the book and became a fan of his gift for seeing and writing about an extraordinary perspective on ordinary things.

On the home page of his website he writes:

Often, without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, coworkers, and neighbors. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, ordinary ways. People who, by example, teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the daily-ness of life.

I want to be one of those.

You may be one of those, yourself. There are those who depend on you, watch you, learn from you, are inspired by you, and count on you being in their world. You may never have proof of your importance to them, but you are more important than you may think. There are those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who. We seldom make this mutual influence clear to each other. But being aware of the possibility that you are useful in this world is the doorway into assuring that will come to be true.

Today I’m grateful for the people who fill important places in my life, those who know me and those, like Robert, who don’t.


Word of the day

December 22, 2016

Pochismo –  an English word or expression borrowed into Spanish; a Spanish word showing U.S. influence; American customs, language and attitudes adopted by Hispanics in the US and perceived pejoratively by their compatriots.


Rural round-up

December 22, 2016

Sheep and beef industry confidence – a tale of two species:

While overall sheep and beef farmer confidence in their industry has taken a dip in the last four months, there is a solid core that remains upbeat about the future.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand commissions UMR Research to gather a range of confidence and performance indicators to understand three main topics. These are the mood of the industry, to assess the key areas farmers’ want their organisation to deliver on for them and to assess Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s performance.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Sam McIvor said the latest 2016 quarterly report shows that farmers with high beef numbers are more confident than the sheep dominant enterprises. . . 

High value sheep milk PGP programme officially kicks off:

Building an environmentally, socially & economically sustainable industry to meet the growing demand for sheep milk products is the goal of a new sheep milk Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme that has officially kicked off.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Spring Sheep Milk Co. have signed a contract for the new Sheep – Horizon Three PGP programme, which means the programme can formally start.

Sheep – Horizon Three will provide a major boost by creating a high value, sustainable sheep milk industry in New Zealand. Internationally, sheep milk is growing in demand. This is particularly clear in Asia, where consumers like its nutritional value, flavour and digestibility. . .

A2 scotches talk of infant formula woes; shares gain – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co shares gained after the milk marketer played down fears about the infant formula market stemming from ASX-listed rival Bellamy’s Australia’s extended trading halt.

The stock gained 5.4 percent to $2.15, having been under pressure since Dec. 12 when Bellamy’s sought a trading halt, stoking speculation about the formula market. . . 

Research could lead to agricultural emissions reduction – Andrew McRae:

Scientists from New Zealand and the United States have made a discovery which could lead to new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector.

They have worked out how reactive nitrogen could be chemically converted to unreactive di-nitrogen gas, without forming harmful greenhouse gases.

Agriculture contributes more of the harmful greenhouse gas nitrous oxide than any other sector worldwide, primarily through nitrogen fertilisation. . . 

Dairy prices on the rise after sustained low:

Food prices fell 0.1 percent in November, Statistics New Zealand said today. Seasonally lower prices for vegetables in November were mostly offset by higher prices for dairy, meat, and fruit. After seasonal adjustment, food prices rose 0.3 percent.

“Prices for the cheapest available cheddar cheese rose 17 percent in October, to $8.44 a kilogram,” consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said. “Cheese prices overall rose 7.9 percent.” . . 

Farmers encouraged to keep children safe this summer:

Farmers are being encouraged to keep children safe on farms over the school holidays with a heightened risk of accidents on farms.

Accidents involving children on the farm peak over December and January, account for more than 22% of injuries to those aged 15 years and under. Seven children died as a result of an accident on a farm between 2013-2015. In the 12 years up until 2015, nearly 20,000 children were injured on the farm.

WorkSafe’s sector leader Agriculture Al McCone says children are a vital component of farming family life and it was important this tradition continued. . . 

Misha’s Vineyard Opens Pop-Up Cellar Door:

Misha’s Vineyard will open a pop-up cellar door in Cromwell for just two weeks commencing on Monday the 2nd January. Located in The Mall in the heart of Cromwell, the pop-up cellar door will be open from 10am to 4pm daily.

Misha’s Vineyard produces an extensive range of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines including Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, as well as a late harvest dessert wine – all of which will be available for complimentary tastings at the pop-up cellar door. . . 

Dijon Bleu (NZ) Stakes Karaka Million Claim:

It took just one start for Dijon Bleu (NZ) (Burgundy) to race her way into contention for next month’s $1m Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie.

Purchased for $26,000 by Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta at the 2016 Select Sale, Dijon Bleu made her debut in Sunday’s$20,000 Mills Reef Winery 2YO (1100m) at her home track. Ridden by Kelly McCulloch, she edged out her stakes-performed stablemate Dreams of Platinum (Dream Ahead) by a nose.

Dijon Bleu earned $12,500 for Sunday’swin, putting her in equal eighth position on the Karaka Million . . 


Thursday’s quiz

December 22, 2016

You’re invited to pose the questions.

In the spirit of the season anyone who does so will win a virtual Christmas cake and anyone who stumps us all will win a virtual bouquet of roses.


Feminism doesn’t go far enough

December 22, 2016

Shock, horror and pass the smelling salts – Prime Minister Bill English wouldn’t describe himself as a feminist and Deputy PM and Minister for  Women isn’t a feminist every  day.

. . . The previous Minister for Women, Louise Upston, said she was not a feminist, however the new minister, Mrs Bennett, said she was one, most days.

“You know there’s some days when I don’t even think about it and I’m getting on being busy, but I still get a bit worked up about some of the unfairness that I’ve seen, mainly for other women and not for myself these days.”

Mr English said he did not really mind whether people called themselves feminists or not.

“I’ve worked with women who have very assertive views about women’s roles, appointed a lot of them to government agencies.

“The four largest organisations in New Zealand are all chaired or run by women, so I don’t mind what label they use. What really counts is what they do.”

Asked whether he was a feminist, Mr English said he would not describe himself as a feminist.

“I don’t know quite what that means.” . . 

The dictionary definition is simple enough – someone who supports feminism which is defined as a movement for granting women political, social, and economic equality with men.

That’s okay in theory but in practice, it has got mixed up with other partisan political issues, it divides rather than unites and it doesn’t go far enough.

Feminism and other identity politics too often become a vehicle for other political issues, alienating people who have no argument with the aim of equality but are turned off by the other, usually left-wing, agenda that accompanies them.

All identity politics divides by focussing not on what we have in common but on what makes us different.

People have the right to equality not because of gender, race, or any other differences but because they are people.

Not being a feminist is taken by some of those who are, to be anti-women and anti-equality. That’s not necessarily so.

Lots of people live good lives and follow Christian principles but don’t call themselves Christian. Likewise you can support equality for women without labelling yourself a feminist.

I’m in that camp because I don’t just support equal rights for women, I support them for everyone.

The basis for equality is simply our common humanity and when addressing inequality for one group, you have to look not just at the group but at everyone else.

Enduring solutions for problems for any group won’t be found without taking account of the impact on, and inequality of, others.

Feminism doesn’t go far enough because in focussing on women, it ignores the interrelationship of their issues with those of men and children.

Besides, as the PM said, it’s not what you call yourself but what you do that matters:

English said he thought Bennett’s example was the most important thing.

“She has such an inspiring story herself that everyday of the week she is achieving things and doing things which will be inspiring to a lot of, particularly younger, women who can see that we are in a country where there are no boundaries if they are able to do it, want to do it, they can get to do it.

“I wouldn’t be too concerned about whether she is labelled one way or the other.

“I don’t really mind if people call themselves a feminist or not a feminist…what really counts is what they do.” . . 

Respecting everyone, treating all people as equals and working to help those who are disadvantaged is far more important than what you choose to label, or not label, yourself.

 


Quote of the day

December 22, 2016

My dear, life rarely gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate. Adventures do occur, but not punctually.Dame Peggy Ashcroft who was born on this day in 1907.


December 22 in history

December 22, 2016

69 – Emperor Vitellius was captured and murdered at the Gemonian stairs in Rome.

880 – Luoyang, eastern capital of the Tang Dynasty, was captured by rebel leader Huang Chao during the reign of Emperor Xizong.

1135 – Stephen of Blois became King of England

1550  Cesare Cremonini, Italian philosopher, was born  (d. 1631).

1639  Jean Racine, French dramatist was born (d. 1699).

1769 – Sino-Burmese War (1765–1769) ended with an uneasy truce.

1790 – Turkish fortress of Izmail was stormed and captured by Alexander Suvorov and his Russian armies.

1805  John Obadiah Westwood, British entomologist, was born (d. 1893).

1807  The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, was passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.

1809 The Non-Intercourse Act, lifting the Embargo Act except for the United Kingdom and France, was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1819  Pierre Ossian Bonnet, French mathematician, was born  (d. 1892).

1851 – The first freight train was operated in Roorkee, India.

1858  Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer, was born (d. 1924).

1885 Ito Hirobumi, a samurai, became the first Prime Minister of Japan.

1888  J. Arthur Rank, British film producer, was born  (d. 1972).

1901  André Kostelanetz, American popular music orchestra leader and arranger, was born (d. 1980).

1907  Dame Peggy Ashcroft, English actress, was born(d. 1991).

1909  Patricia Hayes, English actress, was born (d. 1998).

1914 Swami Satchidananda, Yogi and Spiritual teacher, was born  (d. 2002).

1916 Peter Fraser, who later became Prime Minister, was charged with sedition following a speech attacking the government’s military conscription policy.

Future PM Fraser charged with sedition

1942 Dick Parry, English musician (Pink Floyd), was born.

1948 Noel Edmonds, English game show host, was born.

1949  Maurice Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees) was born  (d. 2003).

1949 – Robin Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees), was born (d. 2012).

1956  Colo,  the first gorilla to be bred in captivity was born.

1962 Ralph Fiennes, English actor, was born.

1963 The cruise ship Lakonia burned 180 miles north of Madeira with the loss of 128 lives.

1964  First flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird).

1965 A 70mph speed limit was applied to all rural roads in Britain, including motorways, for the first time. Previously, there had been no speed limit.
1974  Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli voted to become the independent nation of Comoros.

1978 The Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.

1989 After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu took over as president of Romania, ending Nicolae Ceauşescu‘s Communist dictatorship.

1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opened after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

1990 Final independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia after termination of trusteeship.

1992 – Archives of Terror  – archives describing the fates of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay – were discovered by  Dr. Martín Almada, and a human-rights activist and judge, José Agustín Fernández. This was known as Operation Condor.

1997  Acteal massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas werre massacred by paramilitary forces.

2001 Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, handeed over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.

2001 – Richard Reid attempted to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.

2008– An ash dike ruptured at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, Tennessee, releasing 1.1 billion gallons (4.2 million m³) of coal fly ash slurry.

2010 – The repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, the 17-year-old policy banning  homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

2015 – SpaceX landed a first stage Falcon 9 rocket on ground, after reaching Low Earth orbit at 1:40 UTC for the first time in history.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: