365 days of gratitude


Learning another language helps you understand another culture, part of which is humour.

One of the bonuses of learning Spanish has been the introduction to Argentinian cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado, who is better known as Quino, and his creation Malfalda.

She’s a feisty six-year-old with a love of the Beatles, a hatred of soup and a strong social conscience.

She makes me think and she makes me laugh and I’m grateful for that.

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The Beatles! How can you like them if you don’t understand what they say?

And? Half the world likes dogs and to this day, no-one knows what they want when they say woof.

My Spanish isn’t up to understanding all the cartoons word for word, but I get the gist of most of them and when I don’t can resort to English translations.

mafalda, buenos aires, cartoon, comic, argentina

I have to do my homework. I have to make a delivery for the shop. And I have to go watch my TV programme. 

So we’ve only got time to play nuclear war, right? Yes.


This modern life makes our games even shorter.

mafalda, buenos aires, cartoon, comic, argentina


From this humble little chair I make an impassioned call for world peace.

Anyway, these days I think the Vatican, the UN and my little chair have the same powers of persuasion.


September 29 in history


On September 29:

522 BC – Darius I of Persia killed the Magian usurper Gaumâta, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire.


480 BC  Battle of Salamis: The Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I.

61 BC  Pompey the Great celebrated his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday.


1227  Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

1364  Battle of Auray: English forces defeated the French in Brittany; end of the Breton War of Succession.

Battle of Auray 2.jpg

1547 Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes  Saavedra was born.

1650 Henry Robinson opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters – the first historically documented dating service – in Threadneedle Street, London.

1717  An earthquake struck Antigua Guatemala, destroying much of the city’s architecture and making authorities consider moving the capital to a different city.

1758 Horatio Nelson was born.


1810 English author Elizabeth Gaskell was born.

1829  The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded.

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1848  Battle of Pákozd: Hungarian forces defeated Croats at Pákozd; the first battle of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

Pákozdi csata.jpg

1850  The Roman Catholic hierarchy was re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX.

1862  The first professional opera performance in New Zealand was put on by members of ‘The English Opera Troupe’ and the Royal Princess Theatre Company.

NZ's first professional opera performance

1864  American Civil War: The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm.

1885 The first practical public electric tramway in the world opened in Blackpool.


1907 The cornerstone was laid at Washington National Cathedral.

1907 US singer Gene Autry was born.

1911 Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

Italian Alpini and Libyan corpses

1913 US film director Stanley Kramer was born.

1916 John D. Rockefeller became the first billionaire.

1918  World War I: The Hindenburg Line was broken by Allied forces. Bulgaria signed an armistice.


1932  Chaco War: Last day of the Battle of Boquerón between Paraguay and Bolivia.


1935 US musician Jerry Lee Lewis was born.

1936 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was born.

1941  World War II: Holocaust in Kiev German Einsatzgruppe C began the Babi Yar massacre.


1943 Polish president Lech Walsea was born.

1943  World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice  aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson off Malta.

1951 Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, was born.


1954  The convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was signed.


1956 English athlete Sir Sebastian Coe was born.

1957 20 MCi (740 petabecquerels) of radioactive material was released in an explosion at the Soviet Mayak nuclear plant at Chelyabinsk.

1961 Julia Gillard, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia, was born.


1962  Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite, was launched.


1963 The second period of the Second Vatican Council opened.


1963  The University of East Anglia was established in Norwich.

1964  The Argentine comic strip Mafalda, by Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino, was published for the first time.

1966  The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, was introduced.


1975  WGPR in Detroit, Michigan, becomes the world’s first black-owned-and-operated television station.

1979  Pope John Paul II became the first pope to set foot on Irish soil.

1988 Space Shuttle: NASA launched STS-26, the return to flight mission.


1990  Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was completed.


1990 The YF-22, which later became the F-22 Raptor, flew for the first time.

1991  Military coup in Haiti.

1992  Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello resigned.


1995 The United States Navy disbanded Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84), nicknamed the “Jolly Rogers”.

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2004 The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth.


2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize.


2006  Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 collided in mid-air with an Embraer Legacy business jet, killing 154 total people, and triggering a Brazilian aviation crisis.

Overhead view of airplane wreckage. Plane is upside down, one wing is on, and fuselage is mostly destroyed except for the part next to that wing. Branches and leaves surround the wreckage.

2007  Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, was demolished in a controlled explosion.

Aerial view of the site

2008  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell  777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.

2009 An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands caused a tsunami .


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Malfalda on power – international & domestic


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Mafalda, pick up that sweater you left on the floor.

I don’t have to obey, Mama! I’m the president.

And I’m the world Bank and the International Monetary Fund!

That was Clever.

More from Mafalda


Another Mafalda cartoon, apropos of New Zealand Book Month which starts on Thursday:

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I am alone & bored. Could you come to my house?

I’m sorry, Miguelito, I am going to go out with my mother. But don’t you have a book? A book is a good friend.

Well, What do you want to play?



Humour is one of the most difficult aspects of learning a foreign language.

Word plays, subtle nuances and cultural differences can make something which is hilarious to a native speaker incomprehensible to anyone else.

But some humour transcends language and cultural barriers and some like the Mafalda cartoons have international appeal.

Mafalda, created by Quino, which was the pen name of Salvador Lavado,was first published in Argentina 45 years ago today.

It is a cartoon strip which features Mafalda, her family and friends. She is a young girl with a very advanced wit and social conscience:

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Good morning. Have they abolished the earth’s injustices yet?

Ah. No?

Wake me for lunch then.

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From this humble little chair I make a sincere call for world peace!

At the end of the day it seems that the Vatican, the UN and my chair are worth about the same.

September 29 in history


On September 29:

1547 Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes  Saavedra was born.

Portrait commonly said to be that painted by Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar (c. 1600). Modern scholarship does not believe this portrait, or any other graphic representation of Cervantes, to be authentic.

1758 Horatio Nelson was born.

Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, by Lemuel Francis Abbott

1810 English author Elizabeth Gaskell was born.

Elizabeth Gaskell, in the 1832 miniature by William John Thomson.

1862 the first performance by a professional Opera Company in New Zealand took place.

1907 US singer Gene Autry was born.

1913 US film director Stanley Kramer was born.

1916 John D. (Davison) Rockefeller beccame the first billionaire.

1918: The Hindenburg Line was broken by Allied forces. Bulgaria signed an armistice.

1923 US children’s author Stan Berenstain was born.

1929 The Metropolitan Police Service was formed in London.

Metropolitan Police Flag.gif

1930 English author Colin Dexter was born.

1935 US musician Jerry Lee Lewis was born.

1936 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was born.

1943 Polish president Lech Walsea was born.

1956 English athlete Sir Sebastian Coe was born.

1964 the Argentinean comic strip Mafalda , created by Joaquín Salvador Lavado (who used the pen name Quino), was published for the first time.


Sculpture of Mafalda made by Argentine sculptor Pablo Irrgang, installed in front of 371 Chile Street, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, where Quino used to live. Original title: Homenaje a Mafalda.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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