Rural round-up

September 14, 2017

Politicians blame dairy farm ‘villains’ for water pollution – Peter Jackson:

One of the more disturbing aspects of this election campaign is that we are being invited to vote for, or against, future taxes that will not be quantified until some time after the next government has been formed.

Casting a vote always involves an element of trust, especially under MMP, where proposed policies come up for negotiation in the process of forming a government.

This is wonderful for politicians, who know full well that come September 24 they will be able to trade away what they promised 24 hours earlier. . . 

Composting barns can be a dairy solution – Keith Woodford:

There is increasing recognition that 24/7 paddock wintering of cows is not the way forward for New Zealand dairy. The challenge is to find solutions. These solutions need to achieve good environmental management, they need to be animal friendly, and they also need to make economic sense.

Over recent months I have been on a personal journey of learning about composting barns. That journey is ongoing and I have more to learn. But I am now at a point where I am confident that composting barns can be a major part of the strategic solution for New Zealand dairy. They can be win-win-win for the environment, for animals, and for profitability.

There is one important qualification to the above statement. It is that none of us yet have all of the answers for New Zealand conditions. Also, there is evidence that some farmers are going into composting barns with a poor understanding of the critical factors for success. . . 

The Resilient Farmer – Beatties’ Book Blog:

The Resilient Farmer

Doug Avery

Penguin

RRP $40.00

‘I am filled with rage. So much rage. I raise my fists to that impassive sky and I bellow like a bull. And those clouds, those beautiful, dark, moisture-filled clouds, vanish out to sea. And my wife, who has also felt the lash of my anger and my nasty,

drunken misery, watches me through the windows of our front room, and is afraid and helpless.’

By turning his thinking around not only did it save his farm from ruin, it also saved his marriage and probably his life. . . 

DairyNZ election draws in farming expertise:

Two positions on DairyNZ’s board have attracted six dairy farmer candidates for this year’s director election.

From September 25, levy-paying dairy farmers will vote for their preferred candidates – farmer colleagues whose experience and leadership could help shape DairyNZ priorities and objectives.

Electionz.com returning officer Anthony Morton says levy-paying farmers will have a month to vote. . . 

The most dangerous phrase in the English language? We’ve always done it this way.

Kiwi Ingenuity of “Black Water Rafting” Continues to Thrill – 30 Years On:

The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company Celebrates 30 Years

One of New Zealand’s most iconic adventure tourism offerings – Black Water Rafting – celebrates 30 years this month. Pioneers within New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry, Waitomo’s Legendary Black Water Rafting Company was born in 1987 – taking visitors through Waitomo’s glowworm studded underground world in inner tubes. Thirty years later, today hundreds of thousands of adventure seekers have taken part – including Peter Jackson, Chelsea Clinton and Katy Perry.

The idea for Black Water Rafting came from Waitomo local Pete Chandler – who developed the business along with partner John Ash – and New Zealand’s first professional adventure cave guide Angus Stubbs – who is still with the company and also celebrates 30 years service this month. In 1987 Pete enticed adventurous backpackers to experience Black Water Rafting for $10, the team drove their branded ute around encouraging adventure seekers to enjoy the underground thrill. . .

 


Critical Mass

February 19, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* A sign that civilisation as we know it is crumbling – Anne of Green Gables has been changed from a skinny red-head to a buxom blonde with come hither eyes. Hat tip: Beattie’s Book Blog.,

* Plain English explanations of 18 scientific occupations.

* 40 things to say before you die (hat tip: Amanda Morrall).


Books, adjectives and icons

May 22, 2012

Websites discussed with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today were:

How a book is born (warning might be depress you if you’ve got a good idea). Hat tip: Beattie’s Book Blog

The hierarchy of adjectives – scroll down to the last paragraph to find one of those things-you-know-but-didn’t-know-you-knew. Hat tip: Quote Unquote

And one we didn’t discuss because Jim had discussed it with someone else recently but I missed it and you might have too: Icons that don’t make sense anymore – only people of a certain age will recognise the origins of most of them.


Chick-lit like chocolate without calories

February 17, 2012

The doctor who was looking after my son noticed the book I was reading and said, it was good to see a mother who read something other than Mills and Boon.

I took it as a compliment but could see why women in hospital with a sick child might choose to read such books – they’re light, you can keep track of what’s happening if your reading is interrupted and you’re guaranteed a happy ending.

They’re also entertaining and reading them is a bit like eating chocolate, without the calories. The same applies to chick-lit which is often seen as being only a step of so above Mills and Boon.

But why the snobbery? Can’t a good book be a good book regardless of its genre if it’s well written and what’s wrong with reading about relationships and for entertainment?

In the only problem with chick-lit is the name, Jenny Geras asks:

 Why do I so often hear intelligent, educated women admitting that they read commercial women’s fiction, but only as a “guilty pleasure”? Are there millions of clever men out there feeling guilty about reading John Grisham? Why are Jane Eyre, Kate Reddy and Becky Bloomwood even being discussed together in the same paragraph? They have nothing at all in common apart from being female characters created by female authors.

She also has the answer:

. . . let everyone read what they enjoy reading and stop sneering about others’ literary choices.

To which I say, hear, hear, pass the chick lit but don’t worry about the chocolates.

Hat tip: Beattie’s Book Blog


National Poetry Day

July 22, 2011

It’s National Poetry Day.

 The link above will take you to a list of events aroudn the country.
 
Tuesday Poem has three poems for the day at the hub and links in the sidebar will take you to choices of other Tuesday poets.
 
I especially enjoyed The Raspberry-Coloured Hand-Knitted Cardigan by Jennifer Compton and in response to it by Mary McCallum (and her other) –If you buy the raspberry-coloured hand-knitted cardigan and unpick it .
 
Beattie’s Bookblog posts on Eden Tautali who won the National Schools Poetry Award with Nan a moving poem about her grandmother’s funeral.
 
Poems by all those shortlisted and the judges’ reports are online here.
 

Farm books win children’s book awards

May 19, 2011

The Moon & Farmer McPhee  written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by David Elliot has won the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.

It also won the best picture book.

I came across the book in Dunedin’s University Bookshop on Tuesday. It’s a delightfully quirky story, as many of Mahy’s are, with beautiful illustrations. That she’s still writing such wonderful stories at 75 is an achievement in itself.

Another book with a rural theme, Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark Sommerset, illustrated by Rowan Sommerset, a husband and wife team, was overall winner of the Children’s Choice Award.

When most children are further removed from farms and farming than any previous generation it’s good to see two books set in the country doing so well.

Beattie’s Book Blog has more on the awards and the full list of winners.


From love poems to loo paper

April 26, 2011

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass began with a collection of poems for a wedding, royal or otherwise, chosen by British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy (Hat Tip: Beatiies’ Book Blog)..

I especially liked: Anne Gray’s Love Listen which begins:

Let’s love, listen, take time
when time is all we have.
Let’s be unafraid to be kind,
learn to disregard the bad
if the good outweighs it daily. . .

and

Roger McGough’s Vow:

I vow to honour the commitment made this day
Which, unlike the flowers and the cake,
Will not wither or decay. A promise, not to obey
But to respond joyfully, to forgive and to console,
For once incomplete, we now are whole. . .

We moved from love to loo paper, the  really serious topic: under or over – how should the loo paper hang at Brainz?

If you follow the link above there’s a graphic with the pros and cons of each which says that when the paper is over the roll it’s easier to tear off desired number of sheets and grab the end and there’s less chance of scraping knuckles on wall/gathering germs.

 This is favoured by 70% of people, usually over achievers who like to take charge and be organised.

When the loose end is under the roll there’s  less chance of accidental unravelling eg in motor home or earthquake or if grabbed by cat or small child. It’s supposedly tidier that way.

 Under is preferred by 30% of people and they’re more laid back, artistic and dependable.

Wikipedia discussion on loo paper is twice as long as that on Iraq War.

Apropos of which, in public loos which have stacks of paper in clear containers I reckon the roll turns more easily if the loose end is over rather than under the roll.


Baking treasury is a treasure

March 9, 2011

When I’m given book vouchers I like to use them to buy a book which reminds me of the person who gave them to me.

When I came across  A Treasury of New Zealand Baking I knew I’d found the perfect way to redeem birthday gift vouchers.

They were given to me by my best friend’s mother and many of my childhood memories are grounded in her kitchen with the aroma of fresh baking filling the air.

She’s now in her 80s and still bakes regularly for her family, friends and the many charitable organisations in which she’s involved.

The book is a collection of recipes from New Zealand professional cooks and bakers. Edited by Lauraine Jacobs with photos by Aaron McLean, it was produced as a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation and is a treasure trove of delicious treats.

It includes old favourites – bran biscuits, banana cake, eccles cakes and mumbles;  fresh delights – aporo treat, blueberry sour cream slice, and tamarillo friands; and new twists on traditional recipes – fruity Anzac biscuits and ginger shortbread.

Recipes are clearly set out one to a page and each is accompanied by a photo.

Sometimes I buy a recipe book, salivate over the photos but rarely if ever cook from it. I do pour over the baking treasury with my mouth watering but I also use it and haven’t had a failure.

I’m not alone in appreciating this gem. Beattie’s Book Blog reports it has been judged the  best cookbook in the world, in the  prestigious 2010 Gourmand Awards. It was also proclaimed to be the best ‘Fund Raising, Charity and Community Cookbook’ in the Pacific.


Do you roll or fold?

November 30, 2010

That potentially personal question came up in today’s discussion about on-line matters with Jim Mora on Critical Mass.

The rolling and folding question was brought up by Aptenodyte on Around the World – the record of an Australian family of four’s year of travel. 

Posts so far have been on preparation and the rolling or folding applies to how you pack your clothes.

The travelling starts on Saturday.

We also discussed Simon Heffer’s style notes.

As one afflicted with wobbly spelling and a propensity for typos I found myself admiring his erudition and being relieved I wasn’t one of the writers who provide the many examples of what not to do.

Heffer is an editor and style guru at the Daily Telegraph and has written Strictly English about which you can read on Beattie’s Book Blog.


In search of the top bookshelf

November 21, 2010

Una casa sin libros es una casa sin corazón – a house without books is a house without heart.

If yours is a house with heart it will almost have at least one bookshelf and that could be the one Booksellers is seeking.

 http://www.booksellers.co.nz/book-news/trade-news/searching-new-zealands-most-inspired-bookshelf 

Whether it’s colour-coded, alphabetised or sorted by publication date, the hunt is on for New Zealand’s most inspired, well-stocked and lovingly-crafted bookcase.

Booklovers from Kaitaia to Bluff are invited to take a second look at the bookshelves in their lives, take a snapshot of themselves next to their inspired bookshelf, and email it to us by 12 December 2010.

All entries will be posted on the and judged by an expert panel of New Zealand booksellers. The winner will receive a $500 Booksellers Token before Christmas– so they can add to their beautiful bookshelf!

“When it comes to entries, there are no restrictions. Entries could include a treasured bookshelf in a family home, a precariously-balanced book sculpture, or a series of four-by-two planks and a few old bricks in a student flat, laden with text books, crime novels and dog-eared Lonely Planet travel guides.” says Lincoln Gould, Chief Executive of Booksellers NZ.

“This competition is a bit of fun, but also an opportunity to really appreciate the beauty that a whole lot of books carefully placed, cunningly coerced or simply shoved into a bookshelf can be.“ says Gould. . .

“Whether it’s the way in which the books have been arranged, the shape of the bookcase itself, or simply the selection of books contained, bookcases are always inspiring, and tell a fascinating story all of their own. They’re so much more than just a rambling collection of books gifted, bought, borrowed or loaned.“ says Gould.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter  and see the photos as they come in on Flickr.

Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog. http://beattiesbookblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/booksellers-seeks-new-zealands-most.html


I read too well to remember faces

November 15, 2010

Prospagnosia can be embarrassing – especially if the face you’ve forgotten is one with which you ought to be familiar.

But those of us who have a bad memory for faces can blame our reading skills:

. . .   when the researchers showed participants pictures of faces, the visual word form area of those who could read was much less active than that of participants who could not read. So, the researchers speculate, learning to read competes with face recognition ability – in this part of the brain at least.

“The intriguing possibility that our face-perception abilities suffer in proportion to our reading skills will be explored in future research,” they say.

Does this mean next time I’m discombobulated by prospagnosia I can excuse myself by saying I read to   too well to remember faces?

Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog.


Word of the day

September 23, 2010

Epeolatry  – worship of words.

Apropos of this, Gene Weingarten writes Good bye cruel words: English. It’s dead to me.

The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. It succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself.

The end came quietly on Aug. 21 on the letters page of The Washington Post. A reader castigated the newspaper for having written that Sasha Obama was the “youngest” daughter of the president and first lady, rather than their “younger” daughter. In so doing, however, the letter writer called the first couple the “Obama’s.” This, too, was published, constituting an illiterate proofreading of an illiterate criticism of an illiteracy. Moments later, already severely weakened, English died of shame . . .

The Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal has written of “spading and neutering.” The Miami Herald reported on someone who “eeks out a living” — alas, not by running an amusement-park haunted house. The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star described professional football as a “doggy dog world.” The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald and the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune were the two most recent papers, out of dozens, to report on the treatment of “prostrate cancer.” . . .

Hat Tip: Beattie’s Book Blog

 

 


Did you see the one about . . .

September 18, 2010

An email from Matt McCarten – Whale Oil received a thank you from Matt.

It’s not all doom and gloom despite the earthquake and SCF collapse – Beranrd Hickey finds 10 reasons to be cheerful.

Proof: Wellington council wardens are ticketing against council policy – Big News cuaght them at it.

Science explained Something Should Go Here Maybe Later, who’s made a welcome return to blogging, illustrates the differences between biologists.

Milestone for Beattie’s Book Blog – post 10,000 in a little under four years 1311 visitors for the day by lunchtime on the day the post was written.


Writer without honour in her own town

August 28, 2010

Janet Frame would have been 86 today.

She was very much a writer without honour in her own town, Oamaru, when I was growing up.

As children we thought little of her literary achievements but spoke in whispers about her having been in Cherry Farm.

The first real appreciation I had of her writing was her poem, Rain on the Roof.

My nephew sleeping in a basement room

has put a sheet of iron outside his window

to recapture the sound of rain falling on the roof. . .

 I cut it out of Otago’s student paper Critic and pinned it to the noticeboard in successive flats.

Several years later I read her autobiography An Angel At My Table. Separated by more than 30 years there were obvious differences between her descriptions and experiences growing up in Oamaru and mine, but there were also similarities.

I could see her parents’ house from my bedroom window, it was south facing, cold and shadowy. But this wasn’t  56 Eden Street, the house she grew up in. She might not have been appreciated when I was a child, but the town recognises and vlaues her now. The Frame family home has been lovingly restored by volunteers and is open to the public.

Janet on the Planet counts down to the launch of Dear Charles Dear Janet, Frame and Brasch in correspondence and Beatties Book Blog posts Elizabeth Smither’s address at the launch.


What’s up with RSS feeds?

May 30, 2010

Using Bloglines or something similar is the easiest way to keep up with several blogs and other websites which update regularly without having to check them individually.

But I’ve noticed recently that Bloglines doesn’t work for some blogs, eg Kiwiblog and Macdoctor, although they update regularly in my side bar.

Then there are others like Beattie’s Book Blog which just shows array  in the side bar but updates normally with Bloglines.

Is it something I’m doing – or not doing – or is it a universal problem?

While on the subject of RSS feeds, some blogs display only an introductory paragraph.

I suspect it’s to draw more visitors to their blog because you have to visit it to read the whole post. But unless I’ve got lots of time to spare or the intro is really, really fascinating I usually pass right on to the next blog and forget about them.


Tuesday’s Poem on Thursday

May 27, 2010

A couple of days late: this Tuesday’s Poem is Leaving The Tableland by Kerry Popplewell.

It was chosen by Tim Jones who said it showcases her skill at exploring the palce where landscape and memory meet. And it does.

Links on the right hand side of the page take you to others who write or feature a Tuesday Poem.

One of this week’s is Mother Ease by Pam Morrison at Cadence. A poem she says she wrote when  being mother was a defining role in my life. I wondered about other shapes ‘motherness’ might take.

Apropos of matters poetic, Beattie’s Book Blog has a couple of gems  on old age by Owen Marshall.


Did you see the one about . . .

April 17, 2010

Tuesday’s poem – a new (to me) blog which features a new poem once a week and links to other blogs who post a poem on Tuesdays (Hat Tip Beatties Book Blog – and also over there is erotic vegan poetry – not the average gift for a politician and 10 rules for writing fiction..

Licensed to kill – Macdoctor thinks the driving age is still too low.

Anzac Day an alternative to wreaths – The Veteran at No Minister asks if we should follow the Australian example of one official wreath and others leaving books to be donated to schools.

That went well/badly – Dim Post’s plot to prove TV news is useless went awry.

PPTA declares war on ministers – John Ansell shows on what teacher unions really want.

Ian Sharp on James K Baxter – Quote Unquote with another 10th annivesary reprint from Quote Unquote.

When freedom isn’t free – the difference between classical and modern liberals at Skeptical Doctor.


Did you see the one about . . .

October 19, 2009

Weatherston appeal reproach to Court of Appeal – Stephen Franks speaks sense on meritless appeals.

What makes good political interviewing? – Tim Watkins defends Guyon Espiner’s interview with Metiria Turei.

Why I bought a bookstore  Jeff Mayersohn at the Huffington Post reckons there’s a future for books and the stores which sell them.(Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog).

Just – Stripy sock studio on being “just” a job description (Hat Tip: Art & My LIfe)

After the fisking charges are laid – feel the frsutration over political interference in roading changes from Opinionated Mummy.

Williamson and the theory of firm – Anit Dismal on the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for economics.

Fun Police # 2 Don’t let them eat cake – Liberty Scott on the birthday cake blues.

Not exactly deaf – Macdoctor says 6%  hearing loss is barely noticeable.

VUWSA’s VSM violations Scrubone guest posts at M&M on voluntary student membership machinations.

The poor are not helpless victims – Hernado de Soto – Not PC has found a hero.

Is this the worst hotel in the world? – Motella shows where not to stay.


Good Men is a good project – Updated

August 15, 2009

Several publishers thought a story about wizards wouldn’t sell. J.K. Rowling proved them wrong.

A couple of men in the USA are hoping to prove the publishers who didn’t like their idea of an anthology of stories by men on manhood they were wrong too.

Tom Matlack and his partner collected a wide range of men who were willing to write their stories then:

We hired the best agent in the business, wrote a detailed book proposal, and went shopping for a publisher. Fifty (that’s 5-0, including a who’s who list of the literary world) turned us down. They told us guys don’t read, would never read any kind of anthology, and most certainly wouldn’t read an anthology about men. Apparently we are all mindless fools.

In spite of the rejections they set up a website, The Good Man Project , and plan to launch a book and a film in November. 

I hope they succeed.

The men of my acquaintance do read and the women I know don’t confine their reading to books by and about women.

Besides, I admire people who aren’t put off by rejection and have the courage and drive to turn a good idea into a success.

If there’s an audience for wizards why not one for good men?

Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog.

UPDATE: Apropos of books which were rejected, Oswald Bastable pointed me to a list of 30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers.


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