Word of the day

September 23, 2016

Blag – manage to obtain something by using persuasion or guile; steal something in a violent robbery or raid; gain entrance to a restricted area or club, or some material good, through confidence trickery or cheekinessobtain by wheedling or cadgingan act of using persuasion or guile to obtain something; a violent robbery or raid.


Friday’s answers

September 23, 2016

Andrei and J Bloggs posed yesterday’s questions for which they get my thanks.

Should they have stumped us all they can claim a virtual chocolate cake by leaving the answers below.


September 22 in history

September 22, 2016

66  Emperor Nero created the Legion I Italica.

1236 The Lithuanians and Semigallians defeated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in the Battle of Saule.

1499 Treaty of Basel: Switzerland became an independent state.

1515 Anne of Cleves, wife of Henry VIII, was born (d. 1557).

1586  Battle of Zutphen: Spanish victory over English and Dutch.

1598 Ben Jonson was indicted for manslaughter.

1692 Last people hanged for witchcraft in the United States.

1761  George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz were crowned King and Queen of the Great Britain.

1784  Russia established a colony at Kodiak, Alaska.

1789 Battle of Rymnik established Alexander Suvorov as a pre-eminent Russian military commander after his allied army defeat superior Ottoman Empire forces.

1862  Slavery in the United States: a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation was released.

1866 Battle of Curupaity in the War of the Triple Alliance.

1869 Richard Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold premiered in Munich.

1880 Dame Christabel Pankhurst, English suffragist, was born (d. 1958).

1885 Ben Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1951).

1885  Lord Randolph Churchill made a speech in Ulster in opposition to Home Rule e.g. “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right”.

1888 The first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published.

1893  The first American-made car, built by the Duryea Brothers, was displayed.

1896  Queen Victoria surpassed her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

1906 At a meeting held in Wellington, Marianne Tasker attempted to establish a domestic workers’ union. Central to their demands was the call for a 68-hour working week.

Domestic workers call for 68-hour week

1908 The independence of Bulgaria was proclaimed.

1910  The Duke of York’s Picture House opened in Brighton, now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.

1915 Arthur Lowe, British actor, was born (d. 1982).

1919 The steel strike of 1919, led by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, began in Pennsylvania.

1920 – Anders Lassen, Danish-English soldier, Victoria Cross recipient, was born (d. 1945).

1924 Rosamunde Pilcher, English novelist, was born.

1927 Jack Dempsey lost the “Long Count” boxing match to Gene Tunney.

1931 – United Party Prime Minister George Forbes informed an inter-party conference that a coalition government was needed to ‘share the responsibility’ of dealing with the Depression.

1931 – Fay Weldon, English author and playwright, was born.

1934  An explosion at Gresford Colliery in Wales, lead to the deaths of 266 miners and rescuers.

1937  Spanish Civil War: Peña Blanca was taken; the end of the Battle of El Mazuco.

1939  Joint victory parade of Wehrmacht and Red Army in Brest-Litovsk at the end of the Invasion of Poland.

1941  World War II: On Jewish New Year Day, the German SS murdered 6,000 Jews in Vinnytsya, Ukraine.

1951  The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, was televised on NBC.

1955 The British television channel ITV went live for the first time.

1958 Andrea Bocelli, Italian tenor, was born.

1960 The Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali after the withdrawal of Senegal from the Mali Federation.

1965 The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 (also known as the Second Kashmir War) ended after the UN called for a cease-fire.

1970  Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

1971 Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, was born.

1975 Sara Jane Moore tried to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but was foiled by Oliver Sipple.

1979 The Vela Incident (also known as the South Atlantic Flash) was observed near Bouvet Island, thought to be a nuclear weapons test.

1980  Iraq invaded Iran.

1985 The Plaza Accord was signed in New York City.

1991 The Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library.

1993 A barge struck a railroad bridge near Mobile, Alabama, causing thedeadliest train wreck in Amtrak history. 47 passengers were killed.

1993  A Transair Georgian Airlines Tu-154 was shot down by a missile in Sukhumi, Georgia.

1995 An E-3B AWACS crashed outside Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska after multiple bird strikes to two of the four engines soon after takeoff; all 24 on board were killed.

1995 Nagerkovil school bombing, carried out by Sri Lankan Air Force in which at least 34 died, most of them ethnic Tamil school children.

2003  David Hempleman-Adams became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon.

2011 – CERN scientists announced their discovery of neutrinos breaking the speed of light.

2013 – At least 75 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a church in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Rowarth vs Joy

September 14, 2016

Jamie Mackay hosted a debate on water quality between Professor Jacqueline Rowarth and Dr Mike Joy on The Country yesterday.

. . . When discussing the fencing of waterways and keeping stock away from streams and rivers, Dr Joy said animals should be out of the food chain by 2050 for other reasons too including climate change and energy transfer.

Professor Rowarth said there is no evidence intensive dairy farming caused the Havelock North water contamination crisis and that the solution lies with smarter feeding of cows and better systems to capture and utilise effluent and nitrogen run-off. 

You’ll find parts one and two of the debate if you click on the link above.


366 days of gratitude

September 8, 2016

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that lunch on a cold day is in want of hot soup.

Should that soup be homemade tomato* served with grated Parmesan cheese and toast, so much the better.

Today was such a cold day the soup, freshly made, hit the spot and there’s plenty left over for several more lunches for which I’m grateful.

(*Take as much garlic and onion as you like, sautéed until just soft, add to cans of tomatoes (much cheaper and generally tastier than fresh ones at this time of year), tomato paste and salt, basil, thyme and oregano to taste; bring to the boil then simmer gently, stirring now and then to stop it sticking on the bottom until the flavours mingle)


August 30 in history

August 30, 2016

1363 Beginning date of the Battle of Lake Poyang; the forces of two Chinese rebel leaders— Chen Youliang and Zhu Yuanzhang—were pitted against each other in what is one of the largest naval battles in history, during the last decade of the ailing, Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty.

1574  Guru Ram Das became the Fourth Sikh Guru/Master.

1590  Tokugawa Ieyasu entered Edo Castle.

1720 Samuel Whitbread, English brewer, was born (d. 1796).

1791 HMS Pandora sank after running aground on a reef the previous day.

1797 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English writer, was born (d. 1851).

1799 Capture of the entire Dutch fleet by British forces under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell during the Second Coalition of the French Revolutionary Wars.

1800 Gabriel Prosser led a slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia.

1813  Battle of Kulm: French forces defeated by Austrian-Prussian-Russian alliance.

1813  Creek War: Creek Red Sticks carried out the Fort Mims Massacre.

1835 Melbourne was founded.

1836 The city of Houston was founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen.

1862  American Civil War: Battle of Richmond: Confederates under Edmund Kirby Smith routed a Union army under General Horatio Wright.

1862 – American Civil War: Union forces were defeated in Second Battle of Bull Run.

1871 Ernest Rutherford,  Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate, was born (d. 1937).

Ernest Rutherford LOC.jpg

1873 – Austrian explorers Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht discovered the archipelago of Franz Joseph Land in the Arctic Sea.

1903 Guide Joseph Warbrick and three tourists were killed instantly whenRoturua’s Waimangu geyser erupted unexpectedly.

Four killed by Rotorua geyser

1907 – John Mauchly, American physicist and co-founder of the first computer company, was born (d. 1980).

1908 Fred MacMurray, American actor, was born (d. 1991).

1909  Burgess Shale fossils discovered by Charles Doolittle Walcott.

1909 – Virginia Lee Burton, American author and illustrator, waws born (d. 1968).

1912 Nancy Wake AC GM, New Zealand-born World War II secret agent, was born (d. 2011).

1914  Battle of Tannenberg.

1918 Fanny Kaplan shot and seriously injured Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

1922 Battle of Dumlupinar, final battle in Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).

1926 – Kawarau Falls dam became operational.

1930 Warren Buffett, American entrepreneur, was born.

1935 John Phillips, American singer/songwriter (The Mamas & the Papas), was born (d. 2001).

1942  World War II: Battle of Alam Halfa began.

1943 Jean-Claude Killy, French skier, was born.

1945 Hong Kong was liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces.

1945 – Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Douglas MacArthur landed at Atsugi Air Force Base.

1946 Peggy Lipton, American actress, was born.

1951 Dana, Irish singer and politician, was born.

1956 Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opened.

1962  Japan conducted a test of the NAMC YS-11, its first aircraft since the war and its only successful commercial aircraft.

1963 Hotline between the leaders of the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union went into operation.

1967  Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African American Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

1972  Cameron Diaz, American actress, was born.

1974  A BelgradeDortmund express train derailed at the main train station in Zagreb killing 153 passengers.

1974 – A powerful bomb exploded at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries headquarters in Marunouchi, Tokyo – 8 killed, 378 injured.

1984   The Space Shuttle Discovery took off on its maiden voyage.

1995 – NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces.

1999 – East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a referendum.

2003 – While being towed across the Barents Sea, the de-commissioned Russian submarine K-159 sank, taking 9 of her crew and 800 kg of spent nuclear fuel with her.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


August 29 in history

August 29, 2016

708 Copper coins were minted in Japan for the first time.

1350  Battle of Winchelsea (or Les Espagnols sur Mer): The English naval fleet under King Edward III defeated a Castilian fleet of 40 ships.

1475  The Treaty of Picquigny ended a brief war between France and England.

1526  Battle of Mohács: The Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated and kill the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia.

1632 John Locke, English philosopher, was born (d. 1704).

1655 Warsaw fell without resistance to a small force under the command of Charles X Gustav of Sweden during The Deluge.

1758  The first American Indian Reservation was established, at Indian Mills, New Jersey.

1777  – Hyacinth, ( Nikita Yakovlevich Bichurin), Russian religious leader, founded Sinology,  was born (d. 1853).

1786  Shays’ Rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers, began in response to high debt and tax burdens.

1809 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician and writer, was born (d. 1894).

1831  Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction.

1833 The United Kingdom legislated the abolition of slavery in its empire.

1842 Treaty of Nanking signing ended the First Opium War.

1862 Andrew Fisher, 5th Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1928).

1869  The Mount Washington Cog Railway opened, making it the world’s first rack railway.

1871  Emperor Meiji ordered the Abolition of the han system and the establishment of prefectures as local centers of administration.

1876 Charles F. Kettering, American inventor, was born (d. 1958).

1885  Gottlieb Daimler patented the world’s first motorcycle.

1898 The Goodyear tyre company was founded.

1903 The Russian battleship Slava, the last of the five Borodino-classbattleships, was launched.

1907 The Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction, killing 75 workers.

1910  Japan changed Korea‘s name to Chōsen and appoints a governor-general to rule its new colony.

1911  Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerged from the wilderness of northeastern California.

1914 New Zealand forces captured German Samoa.

NZ force captures German Samoa

1915 US Navy salvage divers raised F-4, the first U.S. submarine sunk by accident.

1915 Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Nathan Pritikin, American nutritionist, was born (d. 1985).

1918  Bapaume was taken by New Zealand forces in the Hundred Days Offensive.

1923 Richard Attenborough, English film director, was born (d. 2014).

1924 Dinah Washington, American singer, was born (d. 1963).

1929 Thom Gunn, British poet, was born (d. 2004).

1930  The last 36 remaining inhabitants of St Kilda were voluntarily evacuated to other parts of Scotland.

1943  German-occupied Denmark scuttled most of its navy;Germany dissolved the Danish government.

1944  Slovak National Uprising – 60,000 Slovak troops turned against the Nazis.

1949  Soviet atomic bomb project: The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

1958 Lenny Henry, British writer, comedian and actor, was born.

1958 Michael Jackson, American pop singer, was born (d. 2009).

1958  United States Air Force Academy opened in Colorado Springs.

1966  The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

1970  Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War. Police riot killed three people, including journalist Ruben Salazar.

1982  The synthetic chemical element Meitnerium, atomic number 109, was first synthesized at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.

1991 Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union suspended all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

1991  Libero Grassi, an Italian businessman from Palermo was killed by the Mafia after taking a solitary stand against their extortion demands.

1996  Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801, a  Tupolev Tu-154, crashed into a mountain on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, killing all 141 aboard.

1997  At least 98 villagers were killed by the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria GIA in the Rais massacre, Algeria.

2003 Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, and nearly 100 worshippers were assassinated in a terrorist bombing, as they left a mosque in Najaf.

2005  Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $80 billion in damage.

2007 – 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident: six US cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were flown without proper authorization from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Bae.

2012 – The opening ceremony of the Summer Paralympic Games was held in London.

2012 – At least 26 miners were killed and 21 missing after a blast in theXiaojiawan coal mine, located at Panzhihua in Sichuan Province, China.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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