This week’s writing challenge revolves around a photo I took of a Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor) on Paraparaumu beach near Wellington, New Zealand. Use the photo to inspire a 150-200 word super-short story – a proper one, with beginning, middle, end and punchline (all super-short stories gotta have a punchline) – and post it on your blog, with… More This week’s short-story challenge
I recently relocated my copy of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, the 1968 Pelican paperback version of the first edition, with editor’s introduction. This is the edition that sold out in 1859 on the first day of publication – all 1250 copies. Five more editions followed, all slightly different – and the book (including… More How Charles Darwin was bullied by his teacher Richard Owen
I went into a coffee shop the other day intending to buy scones – which they make and sell on the premises. The place was filled with techno-elevator music at shattering volume. I asked for the scones. And then the fun began. Music: THOP THOP THOP THOP Counter goon: Worb blurb wob with your coffee?… More The dangers of talking around loud music
It’s Waitangi Day in New Zealand, the 176th anniversary of the day when a treaty was signed at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, between Maori and the British government. It’s widely regarded as modern New Zealand’s founding document. And I figured out a way to make the best hourly rate ever from what the… More The story behind the Treaty of Waitangi
There are a million individual words in English. Most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s word is… Gonfalon – a noun meaning a pennant hung on a crossbar. Thought to be of sixteenth century Italian origin. Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using… More The obscure word of the week is gonfalon
I saw a small storm on Facebook the other day over intellectual property. It involved people who’d invented a variety of techniques for a particular craft and were selling the method in seminars. And so they should. It’s their intellectual property and it’s fair to get a return on it; people gotta eat. The problem… More Paying people for use of their intellectual property is fair – isn’t it?
On 3 February 1931 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand – particularly hitting the town centres of Napier and Hastings. It remains the worst natural disaster ever to strike New Zealand in historic times – despite some doubt as to the precise casualty figure, it was still 50 percent more than the… More It’s 85 years since the Hawke’s Bay quake and we still don’t know how many died