Racist character or racist programme?

January 26, 2013

The BBC has censored Fawlty Towers for racism.

But is it the episode which is racist or the character?

The offending lines are at about 5:40.

They could be racist if they encouraged us to laugh with the Major but most of us would laugh at him.

At about 7 minutes the Major also says he hates Germans; throughout the clip there are lots of insults addressed at women and there’s the running gag of  Manual from Barcelona but the censors must have kept their senses of humour when listening to them.


Rural round-up

July 11, 2011

Confidence lifts on rural up-swing – Tony Chaston:

PGGW’s back to the basics approach and the focusing on its core asset, it’s staff, is a strategy many in the agricultural industry said should have happened years ago.

The direction the previous management had taken the company saw major damage to the once strong PGGW brand, and indirectly to its low share price.

It appears the new owners are giving this company some time to sort its act out, but this will not last forever, and it is no secret that the controlling shareholder interests are more in the seeds area, than other parts of the business . . .

Foreign buyers’ policy affirmed by farmers – RadioNZ:

Federated Farmers has reaffirmed its support for overseas investment in New Zealand agriculture by people who want to come and farm here.

But it’s not so comfortable with foreign coporate investors buying large numbers of farms that could end up in foreign control.

Beef + Lamb promoting trade opportunities with Japan:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen is part of the New Zealand delegation attending the Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum in Tokyo next week, working to strengthen the business relationship between the two countries.

With both countries in recovery mode since devastating earthquakes, common interests are strengthened and there is a realisation that business must play a leading role in moving Japan and New Zealand forward, Petersen said.

On the agenda will be discussion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement and while Japan is not yet a party to those negotiations it has signalled its interest.

“If Japan was to join the TPP this would certainly expand the trade opportunities for our two countries within the Asia Pacific region. . .

Woolly thinking it’s not – Peter Kerr:

For a change, you can’t call this woolly thinking

The wool industry got some interesting ‘innovation things’ happening at the moment.

Firstly, there’s a consortium consisting of the Wool Research Organisation of NZ, industry participants and the Ministry of Science and Innovation, that’s collectively investing $3m a year over the next five years on a range of projects. This is being managed by Wool Industry Research Ltd. (WIRL) and is examining some industry good projects and confidential individual company co-funded wool projects to help move the fibre up the value chain.

But, of more immediate interest is a project, initially kicked off by WRONZ, now managed by WIRL, which commissioned a New York based innovation consultancy to find some new, better paying, markets for wool. . .

Scientists in Scotland decode potato genome – BBC:

An international team of scientists based in Scotland has decoded the full DNA sequence of the potato for the first time.

The breakthrough holds out the promise of boosting harvests of one of the
world’s most important staple crops.

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee say it should soon be
possible to develop improved varieties of potato much more quickly. . .

Rabobank’s Agribusiness review June 2011:

Prepared by the bank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division (FAR), the report provides monthly commentary on New Zealand and Australian agricultural conditions.

Key highlights:
•June was mild in New Zealand, with winter really only arriving at the end of the month. The seasonal outlook in New Zealand is generally for warmer than average temperatures and wetter than average rainfall. Continuing dry conditions across Australia through June, consistent with the end of the La Nina event and expected to prevail into spring, have switched the focus back to how much rain will fall on winter crops over coming months. . .

The full report is here.


November 14 in history

November 14, 2009

On November 14:

1805  Fanny Mendelssohn, German composer and pianist, was born.

1840  Claude Monet, French painter, was born.

1878  Julie Manet, French painter, was born.

 

1889 Pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly (aka Elizabeth Cochrane) began a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days. She completed the trip in seventy-two days.

1908  Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was born.

1918 Czechoslovakia beccame a republic.

Flag Coat of arms

 

1919  Veronica Lake, American actress, was born.

1922 The BBC began radio service.

1927 Bart Cummings, Australian race horse trainer, was born.

1935  King Hussein of Jordan was born.

1947 P. J. O’Rourke, American writer, was born.

1948  Prince Charles  was born.

1952 The first regular UK singles chart was published by the New Musical Express.

 

1954 – Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State, was born.

1959  Paul McGann, British actor, was born.

1969 NASA launched Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the surface of the Moon.
AP12goodship.png

1971 Adam Gilchrist, Australian cricketer, was born.

Adam Gilchrist.jpg

1973 DPB legislation was introduced in New Zealand.

1973  Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips, in Westminster Abbey.

2007 The last direct-current electrical distribution system in the United States is shut down in New York City by Con Edison.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


October 18 in history

October 18, 2009

On October 18:

1386 The University of Heidelberg opened.

1851 Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick was first published as The Whale.

1867 The United States took possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million.

Flag of Alaska State seal of Alaska

1897 Isabel Briggs Myers, American psychological theorist, was born.

1922 The British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) was founded.

BBC logo

1924 Amateur radio operator Frank Bell made the first trans-global radio transmission to London when he sent a Morse code transmission. It was received and replied to by London-based amateur operator Cecil Goyder.

1925 The Grand Ole Opry opened in Nashville, Tennessee.

Grand Ole Opry Logo 2005.png
1926 US singer Chuck Berry was born.
 
 
1927 US actor George C. Scott was born.
 

1929 Violeta Chamorro, President of Nicaragua, was born.

 
1929 Women were recognised as “Persons” under Canadian law.
 
1934 Sweedish actress  Inger Stevens  was born.
 
1954 NZ Opera had its first opening night, performing The Telephone, in Wellington.
1991 Azerbaijan declaresd its independence from the USSR.
 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


How poor is poor?

August 4, 2009

Is poverty not having enough or not having enough in comparison with what other people have?

Is it absolute or relative?

The notion of relative poverty has driven a lot of social and economic policy.

It was one of the motivations behind Working for Families. The television advertisements clearly showed the money was directed at people who already had luxuries and turned middle and upper income families into beneficiaries.

Defining policy by comparison with what others have is a flawed concept because as Michael Blasland points out on the BBC website, poverty, by this measure,  could decline during the recession.

That doesn’t mean poor people will have more, they could well have less, but richer people will have reduced incomes too. Relative poverty is defined as less than 60% of the median income, if rich people get poorer the median income would decrease and therefore fewer people would be poor.

The column includes an interactive graph which illustrates just how flawed this definition of poverty is.

Hat Tip: Liberty Scott


Celebrating the Scottish bard’s 250th birthday

January 25, 2009

Burns night this year has special significance because today is the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birthday.

The BBC has a website  dedicated to the man and his works, including readings of some of his poems.

My father was a Scot and although he immigrated to New Zealand as a young man and lived here for nearly 60 years he never lost his accent so was often called on to address the haggis.

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!

Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,

Painch , tripe, or thairm :

Weel are ye wordy o’a grace

As lang’s my arm.

 

The groaning trencher there ye fill,

Your hurdies like a distant hill,

Your pin wad help to mend a mill

In time o’need,

While thro’ your pores the dews distil

Like amber bead.

 

His knife see rustic Labour dight ,

An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

Like ony ditch;

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Warm-reekin’ , rich!

 

Then, horn for horn , they stretch an’ strive:

Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,

Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve

Are bent like drums;

Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive ,

Bethankit ! hums.

 

Is there that owre his French ragout

Or olio that wad staw a sow,

Or fricassee wad make her spew

Wi’ perfect sconner ,

Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view

On sic a dinner?

 

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,

As feckless as wither’d rash ,

His spindle shank , a guid whip-lash;

His nieve a nit ;

Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,

O how unfit!

 

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed ,

The trembling earth resounds his tread.

Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

He’ll mak it whissle ;

An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned ,

Like taps o’ thrissle .

 

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o’ fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies ;

But , if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer

Gie her a haggis !

 


Key’s a go-getter

October 26, 2008

The Sunday Star Times asked John Key to do a BBC perosnality test and found he’s a go-getter.

Go-getters, according to the BBC researchers who developed the personality test, are inventive, resourceful problem-solvers with a love of life who, bizarrely, are the personality type “least likely to enjoy reading poetry books”.

All but the last of these traits would be useful in someone who could  lead us out of a recession and while I love poetry I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list of requirements for leadership.

The SST invited Helen Clark to take the test but she declined.

You can take it here.


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