April Miscellany

Fun dazeEver wondered which song was playing the day you were born? If you’re curious, have a musical bent and love nostalgia, then go to: http://playback.fm/birthday-song All you have to do is enter your birth date and the site automatically picks out and plays the hit of the day. And for boomers it’s […]

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If you panic, don’t show it…

 Some of the most thoughtful political writing these days is coming from – Peter Dunne.
Dunne, who leads, and is, United Future in Parliament, has been sounding more like he did in 1994, when debating breaking with Labour.
He then aimed to be a centre force in politics, perhaps even a power-broking Prime Minister between Labour and National in the impending MMP […]

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Unreal

Chris HoranWho am I to criticise the way anyone speaks or writes? But I’m going to indulge myself anyway, because fashionable but useless words and phrases irritate me. Starting every sentence with ‘So,’ for instance.’ Where did that come from? It baffles me. ‘Absolutely!’ I’m used to, having long ago come […]

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Labour: will 2015 mark the ‘end of the beginning’?

Last week the Reserve Bank stayed stoutly within its orthodoxy. The Labour party’s challenge is to make a new orthodoxy from its old principles. Both have found mid-2010s realities don’t fit pre-2008 conventions.
The bank talked of its difficulty in “these days of unconventional monetary policy”. Labour’s 25 per cent last election told it that conventional Labour did not work.
The bank’s […]

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Encounters – of an Auckland kind

traffic jams in AucklandDriving in Auckland can be a little like reading a good novel – packed with character and  incident and sometimes ending in tears, or worse. With the influx of new migrants 15-20 years ago Aucklanders witnessed some truly hair-raising driving, from impulsive, near-crash moves, to breath-taking U-turns – at […]

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Season of mists and – shaved goat’s leg?

Brian VinerIt’s getting harder in the mornings, the butter that is. And a little bit more difficult to spread on one’s toasted sourdough which is baked that very day by cheerful, attractive bakers who appear in television adverts always with a smile on their faces as they hump yet another bloody great tray […]

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Miscellany in the Ides of March

For those who still  think climate change is a fantasy, here’s the bad news. Scientists have found that the sea ice in the Arctic is the thinnest it has   been since 1975. In their words: ‘Applying our method to the period 1975–2012 for the central Arctic Basin where we have sufficient data …. we find that the annual mean ice […]

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Falling prices used to be a good thing

On Thursday Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler will pronounce on the economy’s track and where interest rates should or might go and when. He is likely not to cut the official cash rate (OCR) but the slope of any future rise has been getting less steep by the quarter and the start date more distant.
The monkish bank economists will mine […]

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This month in History – mid March

*  NZ forces capture Castle Hill at Cassino
*  Jockey Y-fronts hit NZ shops
*  NZ troops arrive in Greece
*  Honey bees brought to NZ
*  NZ’s first flag chosen
*  Kiwis win Oscars for ‘The Piano’
*  Ngati Kahu kidnap victim dies at sea on French ship
*  John A. Lee expelled from Labour Party
*  Brunner mine disaster kills 65
*  The ‘Sallies’ come to New […]

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