Flags are at half mast today across New Zealand to mark the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War. Over 100,000 young Kiwi men were drawn into that conflict over a four year span. Of these, more than 58,000 became casualties, 16,500 of them dead. For a country of just on a… More Lamenting the sadness of war, and of New Zealand’s war historians
It’s Anzac day today on both sides of the Tasman, a day of remembrance that strikes to the heart of national sentiment in Australia and New Zealand. All of which belies the humble origins of the term. Anzac began as a straight-forward acronym, a simple description of the combined Australian and New Zealand Army Corps formed under… More Anzac: a word of humble origin
I have never quite understood why Friday 13th is viewed with such foreboding. From the science perspective it’s no different from any other day. The Earth revolves on its axis, creating the illusion of the sun rising and falling – but one revolution, surely, isn’t any different from another. Arbitrary dates and divisions we make up… More Black Friday, paraskevidekatriaphobia, and the origin of OMG
There is an old adage that good writing must be about what you know. It’s been around so long it’s virtually a cliché. But it’s also true. I posted last week about the methods Ernest Hemingway used to convey authenticity through writing style. But that wasn’t the only way he gave his work the ‘real… More Write what you know, know what you write
It’s Anzac Day in New Zealand – memorial day, A day when – with Australia – we remember the dead of all our wars. In a way it is a peculiar choice. Britain remembers their dead on 11 November – the anniversary of the Armistice in 1918. We remember ours on the day our forces… More Remembering a century of wars
Last Saturday I posted an entry on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. With a puzzler of my own at the end. Who first used the abbreviation “OMG”? The answer is this man: Admiral Sir John Arbuthnot Fisher (1840-1920), the volcanic, megalomaniac, temperamental naval officer who – as First Sea Lord – reformed the Royal Navy between… More OMG – it’s not new at all. OMG!
Does anybody remember the Battle of Jutland? The one and only clash of dreadnoughts in the First World War, 31 May 1916. And the last major sea battle controlled via flag signals. Today is the 95th anniversary. I covered the drama in my book Blue Water Kiwis, a decade ago, but it deserves fresh mention.… More 31 May is Jutland Day!