If only supermarket shopping could be this entertaining:

Quote of the day


Quite casually I wander into my plot, poke around with my characters for a while, then amble off, leaving no moral proved and no reader improved. Thorne Smith who was born on this day in 1892.


He’s the author or Night Life of the Gods, a book that still makes me laugh out loud after many rereadings. That might disprove the quote because laughing leaves me much improved.

I haven’t watched the film which was adapted from the book and having enjoyed the reading so much and so often I’m not sure I want to watch it, but should you wish to have a peek you’ll find it on here on YouTube.


Communication better and worse


Through one of the marvels of modern Science, I am enabled, this Christmas Day, to speak to all my peoples throughout the Empire. I take it as a good omen that Wireless should have reached its present perfection at a time when the Empire has been linked in closer union. For it offers us immense possibilities to make that union closer still.

These are the opening lines of the first royal Christmas broadcast, made by King George V in 1932, the background to which you can read here.

Illustrating how far communication has come since then, this year’s royal Christmas speech is on YouTube.

Technological advances have made it much easier, and relatively cheaper, to communicate with people all around the world.

When I went on my OE in the early 80s, I made two phone calls home in 11 months. Our daughter’s on her OE now and we chat several times a week via Facetime or skype.

It is much easier for politicians to communicate through their own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

However, how much of these messages go much beyond those already supporting them or political tragics keeping up with the other side is a moot point – at least until they make a SMOG (Social Media Own Goal) when the message is likely to go far further than they’d like.

There is a downside to this easy communication though and that sometimes people ignore the people they’re with while concentrating on phones or other mobile devices.

As Einstein said:

I fear the day that technology will surpass our interaction the world will have a generation of idiots.

Old rules don’t fit new media


The mainstream media is being very careful to not divulge the contents of the so-called teapot tapes.

But it wouldn’t take anyone who knows their way around the internet long to find the YouTube clip of the conversation recorded between John Key and John Banks.

The MSM is constrained by police advice it is an offence to disclose private communication unlawfully intercepted.

That could apply to websites based here but lots aren’t. It’s all over Twitter and some blogs also have links to the clip or enough information to help people looking for it.

And people are looking:

Yesterday evening the top search terms for this blog were:

Search Views
teapot tape transcript 49
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blair mayne 7
mona blades 7
youtube teapot tape 7
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Whether or not the old rules apply to new media might be debatable but the coverage the tapes are getting on the internet show that there is enough uncertainty to leave old media at a disadvantage.

However, without divulging the contents almost everyone agrees there was nothing of great moment on the recording.

That has led political opportunists to say that proves John Key was wrong to make an issue of it.

On the contrary it shows he was motivated not by a desire to hide something but by principle.

All of us, whether or not we are public figures, ought to be able to have a conversation without the risk it might be recorded and made public without our knowledge or permission.

Is that all there is?


The so called teapot tape has been released on YouTube..

It’s not easy to hear what is being said by John Key and John Banks in their pre-election conversation because of the background noise.

But from what I could hear and understand there is absolutely nothing to cause embarrassment or upset to anyone.

If that is all there is, the Herald on Sunday and TV3 who had the tape and made such a fuss about it really need to look at themselves, their standards and motivation.

They inferred  implied the contents were politically sensitive and potentially embarrassing.

They told us it was in the national interest to release them. If that’s all there is it wasn’t. They are simply boring.

The HOS and even more so TV3 turned a non-event into a potential scandal and then someone from one of those media outlets or Bradley Ambrose, the reporter who, inadvertently or not, recorded the conversation, gave something to Winston Peters which enabled him to do what he does best – manufacture outrage to generate attention.

The only embarrassment is to the media who created an issue out of nothing.

I am not linking to the recording because I am unsure of the legal position but if you can’t find it you’ll save yourself 10 minutes and 46 seconds of boredom.

Whaleoil, Kiwiblog and Keeping Stock also have posts on the recording.

February 15 in history


On February 15:

509 Khosrau II is crowned king of Persia


1564 Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and physicist, was born.

1637Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor.

 1804Serbian revolution started.

1805Harmony Society was officially formed.

 The Harmony Society church in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania.

1812 Charles Lewis Tiffany, American jeweller, was born.

1820 Susan B. Anthony, American suffragist, was born.


1835 – The first constitutional law in modern Serbia was adopted.

1852Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London, admitted its first patient.


1874 Sir Ernest Shackleton, Irish Antarctic explorer, was born.

1877  Louis Renault, French automobile executive, was born.


1879 American President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

1882 The first shipment of frozen meat left New Zealand.

First shipment of frozen meat leaves NZ

1891 AIK was founded at Biblioteksgatan 8 in Stockholm by Isidor Behrens.


1898 – Spanish-American War: The USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbour, killing more than 260.

USS "Maine" entering Havana Harbor on 25 January 1898, where the ship would explode three weeks later

1906 – The British Labour Party was formed.

Labour logo

1909 Miep Gies, Dutch biographer of Anne Frank, was born.


1909 The Flores Theatre fire in Acapulco, 250 died.

1942  The Fall of Singapore. Following an assault by Japanese forces, British General Arthur Percival surrendered. About 80,000 Indian, United Kingdom and Australian soldiers become prisoners of war, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. The Sook Ching massacre began.

Singaporesurrender.jpgLt Gen. Arthur Percival, led by a Japanese officer, walks under a flag of truce to negotiate the capitulation of Allied forces in Singapore, on 15 February 1942.

1944 The assault on Monte Cassino, started.

Battle of Monte CassinoRuins of Cassino town after the battle

1944 Mick Avory, British drummer (The Kinks), was born.

1945  – John Helliwell, British musician (Supertramp), was born.


1947 David Brown, American musician (Santana), was born.

1950 – The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China signed a mutual defense treaty.

1951 Jane Seymour, British actress, was born.

1952King George VI was buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

1959 Ali Campbell, British singer and songwriter (UB40), was born.

1960 Mikey Craig, British musician (Culture Club), was born.

1961Sabena Flight 548 crashed in Belgium, killing 73, with the entire United States Figure Skating team, several coaches and family.

1965 – A new red-and-white mapleleaf design was adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.


1970 – A Dominican DC-9 crashes into the sea during takeoff from Santo Domingo, killing 102.

1971Decimalisation of British coinage was completed on Decimal Day.

1972 – Sound recordings were granted U.. federal copyright protection for the first time.

1976 – The 1976 Constitution of Cuba was adopted by the national referendum.

1978 New Zealand beat England in a cricket test for the first time.

New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

1980 Television One and Television Two (formerly South Pacific Television) under the newly formed Television New Zealand went to air for the first time.

1982 The drilling rig Ocean Ranger sank during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 84 rig workers.


1989 Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announced that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.

1991 The Visegrád Agreement, establishing cooperation to move toward free-market systems, was signed by the leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland.

2001 First draft of the complete Human Genome is published in Nature.

2003 Protests against the Iraq war occurred in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between 8 million to 30 million people took part, making this the largest peace demonstration in the history of the world.

 StWC poster advertising the demonstration

2005YouTube, was launched in the United States.

YouTube logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Dr Who


Dr Who was first broadcast, on this day in 1963.

In case you’re wondering . . .


. . . why I posted videos to mark the birthdays of Petula Clark and Frida Lyngstad but not one for Mantovani’s, I decided that some things are best left to memory.

However, if you want to listen to the man and his orchestra, there’s plenty to choose from on YouTube.

Saturday’s smiles




Celebrating Cliff Richard’s birthday with Congratulations .

It was the Spanish canción del verano (summer song) in 1968. I’d have been at Intermediate school at the time.

Battle Hymn of the Baby Boomers


The thoughts expressed in this clip are not those of the poster – but it did make me smile.

Ministry of Silly Walks


Another classic to mark yesterday’s 40th anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Argument Clinic


It’s 40 years since Monty Python’s Flying Circus first broadcast on BBC.

Julie Andrews – Thoroughly Modern Millie


The search for something to mark Julie Andrew’s birthday led me to Thoroughly Modern Millie.

My best friend and I loved it when we saw it at the pictures, way back in the days when you stood for the National Anthem (which was then God Save The Queen) before the shorts which came on before the film.

You might prefer something from The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady or Mary Poppins.

Let The Sunshine in


The start of daylight saving coinciding with the 41st opening of the musical hair in London made Let The Sunshine In a logical choice:

Unlike the rest of the world we like America – Updated with Letterman Top 10


John Key often speaks off the cuff, whether he’d rehearsed what he said when he appeared on the Letterman show or not, this comment would be hard to beat:

“Unlike the rest of the world, we like America”.

It might have been said with a smile, but there is a very serious message in that statement.

He will however, be hoping that no-one took him seriously when he said:

“New Zealand is a convenient 20-hour flight away” and “if you go in the next 30 days I’ll pick you up at the airport personally”.

Key also rang the bell which closes the New York Stock exchange.

New Zealand Stock Exchange boss Mark Weldon says ringing the bell is a highly coveted honour bestowed on visiting dignitaries.

Mr Weldon says the financial markets all cover the ringing of the bell and the prime minister will get great profile for New Zealand by doing it.

If my experience is anything to go by a lot of Americans won’t know where New Zealand is – and ignorance of our location or even existence isn’t confined to the US.

That said, we have a lot to gain from warmer relationships with the US. Hopefully a few of the people who do know where New Zealand is and are in a position to influence policy will have got Key’s message.

UPDATE: (Hat Tip Rob’s Blcockhead) The Top 10 List from the show:


The quote I linked to above got it wrong. Key said: “Unlike most of the world we still like Americans.”

Mid-week Music


It’s Eric Boggle’s Bogle’s birthday.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda is probably his best known song.

Andrea Bocelli – Nessun Dorma


It’s Andrea Bocelli’s birthday which provides an excuse to listen to him sing Nessun Dorma from the Opera Turandot.

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah


It’s Leonard Cohen’s birthday which provides an excuse for Hallelujah:

Susan Boyle releases single online


The woman whose appearance on Britain’s Got Talent became a youTube hit has released a single online.

It’s the first single from her debut album, the Rolling Stones’ song Wild Horses.

She’s been dubbed Subo and has released the single on

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