Wednesday, August 17, 2022




From Bytes, 18 February, 2011:


The following item contains unpleasant subject matter, scatological references and toilet humour. Parental or teenage supervision is recommended.

Recently [that is, back in 2011] esteemed philosopher and occasional budgie smuggler model, Anthony John Abbott, made news for commenting on the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan that “shit happens”. 

In this context the word “shit” means unpleasant events and circumstances, the expression “shit happens” meaning that unpleasant events and situations are a feature of life and existence, that bad things happen for no particular reason. 

There have been many similar views expressed by other philosophers through the ages. Even the phrases “Cest la vie” or Ned Kelly’s “Such is life” have similar meanings. Nonetheless none give the force and laconic brevity of the two word expression “Shit happens”.

Mr Abbott was originally criticised for being insensitive, but focus then shifted to the journalist for perhaps setting him up in questioning him on it, and for Mr Abbott’s stunned, head-rocking response to questioning about it.

It is interesting to note that some television stations showed the conversation on screen with asterisks as “s**t happens”, others showed the words in full. So far as I am aware, no one objected to the particular word used.

See the original comment and the head-rocking response when taken to task by clicking on the following link:

The suggestion that the expression was coined by Forrest Gump is incorrect.

Those who recall the 1994 movie of that name will also remember the scene where a bumper sticker salesman approaches Forrest for a new slogan during Forrest’s running phase. He points out that Forrest nearly stepped in dog faeces, to which Forrest replies “It happens.” The salesman asks “What, shit?” and Forrest answers “Sometimes”. This provides the inspiration for the creation of the “Shit Happens" bumper sticker by the salesman.

The actual etymology of the expression “Shit Happens” remains unknown.

In 1964 Carl Werthman quoted an example in his UC Berkeley masters thesis; the relevant excerpt being published in The American City in 1968.

The earliest recorded use is in a University of North Carolina listing of slang in 1983.

In 1990 one James Daniel Cunningham was convicted by a Georgia jury of having contravened a statute that read:

"No person owning, operating, or using a motor vehicle in this state shall knowingly affix or attach to any part of such motor vehicle any sticker, decal, emblem, or other device containing profane or lewd words describing sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body."

He was fined $100. His offence had been to display a bumper sticker that read “Shit Happens”.

Mr Cunningham appealed the conviction to the Georgia Supreme Court on the basis that the law was unconstitutional. The court agreed with Mr Cunningham, stating that:
“The peace of society is not endangered by the profane or lewd word which is not directed at a particular audience.” In response to the crown submission that the statute was necessary to shield minors from harmful speech, the court said that “The audience of observers of bumper stickers is not made up primarily of minors or other persons of delicate sensibilities.”
Mr Goodman did not, however, walk out of court unscathed. Notwithstanding its ruling that the statute was unconstitutional and that it violated the right of free speech, the court quoted with approval Benjamin Franklin’s comment: "Everything one has a right to do is not best to be done.”

The court further stated:
"Although the state may not impose criminal sanctions under OCGA § 40-1-4, this does not mean the exhibitor of such a bumper sticker stands blameless among his fellows. The exhibition of poor taste and demonstration of lack of concern for the sensibilities of others cast the offender in a position of societal disrespect. This position is well deserved."

Funnily enough, despite the S word being regarded as a swear word and not for use in polite company, it is a very useful word with a myriad of meanings:

• Belongings, stuff: Move your shit off my bed.
• Wits, composure: Get your shit together.
• Fear: I was shitting bricks.
• Trouble: He’s in deep shit.
• No sympathy: Tough shit.
• Surprise: Shit!
• Fear: Shit!
• Frustration: Shit!
• Substandard item: It’s a piece of shit.
• Scorn: Eat shit.
• Incredulity: No shit?
• Stating the obvious: No shit, Sherlock!
• Denigration for pompousness, exaggeration: You’re full of shit.
• Deception: Are you shitting me?

Then there are the phrases that incorporate the word, the combined words, such as shithead, and animal combined words:

• Bullshit: exaggeration, untrue.
• Chickenshit: being afraid.
• Apeshit: go crazy.
• Horseshit: as for bullshit.
• Batshit: as for apeshit.

Which leads me to some final comments as to the possible origin of two expressions . . .

“The shit hit the fan”:

According to etymologist Hugh Rawson:

The expression is related to, and may well derive from, an old joke. A man in a crowded bar needed to defecate but couldn't find a bathroom, so he went upstairs and used a hole in the floor. Returning, he found everyone had gone except the bartender, who was cowering behind the bar. When the man asked what had happened, the bartender replied, 'Where were you when the shit hit the fan?'

The following anecdote concerning Rex Harrison was originally told to me by my father in law Noel. It also appears in the IMDB post about Harrison and I will quote that:

Rex Harrison

Harrison had a reputation for being very abrupt with his fans. One night, after a stage performance of "My Fair Lady", it was late, cold and pouring with rain and there was an old woman standing alone outside the Stage Door. When she saw Rex, she asked him for his autograph. Rex told her to "Sod off", and the old woman was so enraged at this that she rolled up her program and hit him with it. Stanley Holloway, who had followed Rex out in time to see this, congratulated him on not only making theatre history but, for the first time in world history, "The fan has hit the shit!"

Stanley Holloway

“Holy shit”:

The origin of the phrase "holy shit" is a result of poor communication and bad spelling.

When Adam and Eve were cast out of Heaven, they were quite despondent. Life really sucked. In fact, Eve’s first comment to Adam after the expulsion was “Adam, this is terrible. It’s like our lives are now half shit.”

Adam looked at Eve with utter sadness. “No, baby,” he mumbled back. “Our lives are not half shit. This is wholly shit.”

Back then, no one knew how to spell. There was no written language. So when Adam and Eve started saying “Wholly Shit”, their descendants and everyone else assumed the “other” spelling, ie. “Holy”…and here we are in the 21st century with that spelling error.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022






The late and great Slim Dusty’s 100th album was Looking Forward, Looking Back, which features a song by that name as well. You can hear it and see it by clicking on:

It contains the lyrics:

Looking forward, looking back
I've come a long way down the track
Got a long way left to go

There are strange days
Full of change on the way
But we'll be fine, unlike some
I'll be leaning forward, to see what's coming

I was reminded of those lyrics when I read an email sent to me by friend John P. The email looked at the world 100 years ago and speculated on what it may be like in 100 years from now.

Thanks for the contribution, John.

Change is exponential: the more we invent, discover and learn, the faster and greater the changes that follow. Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press less than 600 years ago; the Wright Brothers flew the first powered heavier-than-air aircraft less than 120 years ago . . .

The Year is 1922

Here are some statistics for Year 1922:

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of homes had a telephone.
18 percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average US wage in 1922 was 22 cents per hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year.
A dentist earned $2,500 per year.
A veterinarian between $1,500 and 4,000 per year.
And, a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women washed their hair once a month ...
And, used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was neither a Mother's Day nor Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write ...
And, only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND in the government as "substandard." Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were available over the counter at local drug stores. Back then pharmacists said: "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, bowels, and is a perfect guardian of health!" (Shocking?)

The leading causes of death were: 
1 Pneumonia and influenza. 
2 Tuberculosis. 
3 Diarrhoea. 
4 Heart disease. 
5 Stroke

Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
The American flag had 45 stars; the population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.

I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself.
It will be sent to others all over the world all in a matter of seconds!
It is impossible to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.

"Just living the dream..."



Often the thought of getting fast food is far superior to actually getting it.



Princeton University undergraduates once voted Edgar A. Guest the world’s worst poet. Dorothy Parker, invoking the test for syphilis, wrote:
"I’d rather flunk my Wasserman test
Than read a poem by Edgar A. Guest.”

Edgar A Guest is to poetry what Norman Rockwell is to art, and I mean that in a good way.

Both have been dismissed by the critics as being sentimental, idealistic and nostalgic but their works have remained popular with the people who count, the public.

Norman Rockwell - Triple Selfie

I don’t mind admitting that I like Edgar A Guest's poems but that can be expected from someone who prefers the Man from Nantucket to Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Here is one of Guest's poems . . . 

Looking Back

by Edgar A. Guest

I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold
instead of the friendships I've made.
I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown
in the hours when I purposely played.
Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life,
and I'm just looking backward to see
What I've done with the years and the days that were mine,
and all that has happened to me.

I haven't built much of a fortune to leave
to those who shall carry my name,
And nothing I've done shall entitle me now
to a place on the tablets of fame.
But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue;
I've lived with the birds and the trees;
I've turned from the splendour of silver and gold
to share in such pleasures as these.

I've given my time to the children who came;
together we've romped and we've played,
And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent
with them for the money that I might have made.
I chose to be known and be loved by the few,
and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
And I'd make the same choice should the chance
come to me to live my life over again.

I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys,
known sorrow with all of its tears;
I have harvested much from my acres of life,
though some say I've squandered my years.
For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy,
and I think I have lived to my best,
And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end,
for the gold that I might have possessed.

Sunday, August 14, 2022




As regular readers know, I like to listen to Jonesy and Amanda on breakfast radio, 2WSFM, when I drive to work of a morning and catch up on highlights on the drive home.

Last Friday on their listener phone-in segment they invited calls on the topic of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – When Good Turns Go Wrong.

Some of the phone-ins . . . 

One listener reported that whilst sitting on the bus, she noticed that a gentleman who had gotten off the bus and had been sitting nearby had dropped his packet of cigarettes, which she saw on the floor. She picked up the packet and, as the bus began to drive off, she called out to him through the window “You dropped your cigarettes”, tossing the packet to him. He looked non-plussed, which was not surprising in that she had tossed him the packet belonging to the man sitting on the seat in front of her. What made it worse was that the cigarettes in the packet was his collection of joints.

Another listener said that some years ago, whilst she was a registered nurse, she observed an older man leaning against a wall with his head on his arm and appearing to be having a heart attack. She went up to him and asked if he was okay. He may have been hard of hearing and didn’t answer, so walked to the front of him to ask him again, only to see that he was urinating on the wall.

A further example of a good deed going awry was the story told by a listener of seeing a removalist truck on the neighbour’s driveway that was having trouble starting. Being a helpful sort of chap with mechanical experience, he managed to get their truck started for the them.

That evening the neighbours knocked on his door and asked if he had seen anything suspicious.

He said that he hadn’t, that the only thing he had observed was their removalist and that he had helped start their truck.

They told him they weren’t moving and that the supposed removalists had been burglars who had cleaned out the house.

The last tale was by a listener who told Jonesy and Amanda that a couple of years ago they saw their friend’s dog, a white Maltese Shi Tzu named Doug, on the street whilst they were out walking. They called to Doug to come and Doug did, then followed them to their friend’s house. The friend wasn’t home so they put Doug inside through the dog door.

A few days later they caught up with the friend and asked if they found Doug when he came home, that they had put him inside.

The friend exclaimed “It was you!”.

It turned out that the friend’s father had come home to be confronted by two identical Dougs staring at him.

Saturday, August 13, 2022





“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realise 
how little we understand about life, 
ourselves, and the world around us.”

The Dunning-Kruger effect is the name of a concept whereby people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area.

This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.

The concept of the Dunning-Kruger effect is based on a 1999 paper by Cornell University psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger.

The pair tested participants on their logic, grammar, and sense of humour, and found that those who performed in the bottom quartile rated their skills far above average. For example, those in the 12th percentile self-rated their expertise to be, on average, in the 62nd percentile.

According to Dunning and Kruger: 
Those with limited knowledge in a domain suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach mistaken conclusions and make regrettable errors, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. 

How do you fix the Dunning-Kruger effect?
  • Question what you know and pay attention to those who have different viewpoints.
  • Seek feedback from people you can trust who you know are highly skilled in your area of interest.
  • Be open to constructive criticism and resist the impulse to become defensive.
  • Don’t pretend to know something you don’t.
  • Make it a priority to continue learning and growing.

Friday, August 12, 2022



Hopefully this will go out and Bytes will have successfully returned.

How better than with a Funny Friday.

Enjoy but, as is common, risque content ahead.



There’s a great actor who can no longer remember his lines, and when word gets out, no one will hire him.

After many years he finally finds a theatre that is prepared to give him a chance to shine again. The director says, “This is the most important part, but it has only one line. You walk out on stage at the opening, carrying a rose. You hold the rose to your nose with just one finger and thumb, sniff the rose deeply, and then say, ‘Ah, the sweet aroma of my mistress.’”

The actor is thrilled. All day long he practices his line over and over again. Finally, showtime comes. The curtain goes up, the actor walks onto the stage, and with great passion delivers the line, “Ah, the sweet aroma of my mistress.”

The theatre erupts. The audience is screaming with laughter, but the director is steaming! The actor looks stunned. “You damn fool!” cries the director. “You have ruined me!”

“What happened?? I’m sure I didn’t forget my line!” 

“No!” screams the director. “You forgot the rose!”

Follow up to the above:

Several months later he gets a call from his agent.

"I finally got you a job. It's a one-liner."

"That's okay!" replies the actor, "I've been out of work for so long I'll take anything. What's the line?"

"Hark, I hear the cannons roar," says the agent.

"I love it!" says the actor. "When's the audition?"

"Wednesday," says the agent.

Wednesday comes and the actor arrives at the audition. He marches on stage and shouts, "Hark, I hear the cannons roar!"

"Brilliant!" says the director, "you've got the job! The first show is at 9 o'clock, Saturday night."

The actor is so excited that he goes on a major bender. He wakes up 8:30 Saturday evening and runs to the theater, continually repeating his line, "Hark, I hear the cannons roar! Hark, I hear the cannons roar!" He arrives and is stopped by the bouncer.

"Who the heck are you?"

"I'm Hark, I hear the cannons roar" says the actor.

"You're Hark, I hear the cannons roar?" says the bouncer. "You're late! Get up to makeup right now!"

So, the actor runs up to makeup.

"Who the heck are you?" asks the makeup girl.

"I'm Hark, I hear the cannons roar!" he says.

"You're late! Sit down." So she applies the makeup. "Now, quick, get down to the stage, it's almost time to say your line!"

So he dashes down to the stage.

"Who the heck are you?" asks the stage manager.

"I'm Hark, I hear the cannons roar!" he replies.

"Oh, thank God! Just in time! Now get out there, the curtains are about to go up!"

So, the actor runs onto the stage. The curtains rise and he sees that the house is full. Suddenly, there is an almighty bang behind him, and the bewildered actor shouts,

"What the fuck was THAT?!"

Further follow up:

His line is "Behold, a cadaver…", but he's never seen the realistic body dummy before opening night and blurts "Holy shit, a dead guy!"


I went to Walmart today, and I was there for literally 5 minutes.

When I came out there was a state trooper writing a parking ticket for being in a handicap spot.

So I went up to him and said, "Come on, buddy, how about giving a guy a break?"

He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. So I called him a pencil-necked cop. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for worn tyres!

So I then asked him if his psychiatrist makes him lie face down on the couch cause he's so ugly.

He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket!

This went on until he had placed 5 tickets on the windshield... the more I insulted him, the more tickets he wrote.

I didn't care.

My car was parked around the corner.



And then there's the story that's fraught
With disaster -- of balls that got caught,
When a chap took a crap
In the woods, and a trap
Underneath... Oh, I can't bear the thought!





At the beach house, we had a major problem with sea birds. I started throwing rocks at them.

I left no Tern unstoned.

A blacksmith was put on trial for a murder he did not commit

A guard from a village was found dead with a sword sticking through his chest. The blade was deemed to be the handiwork of the local blacksmith, however he had been away from the village by the time of the murder. Nonetheless, he was arrested shortly after returning and demanded his immediate release.

The town judge decided to charge the blacksmith with murder, arguing that he had forged the weapon that ended the guard’s life and was still responsible. Before being found guilty, the blacksmith pleaded for leniency, claiming not to have personally been a part of the murder. The judge only looked at him and stated before delivering his sentence for the murder, “Thou who smelt it, dealt it.”

I taught my kids about democracy tonight by having them vote on what movie to watch and pizza to order

And then I picked the movie and pizza I wanted because I'm the one with the money.


Thursday, August 11, 2022


Hello again Byters.

Thanks to the work of my daughter, Bytes has been relocated to a different blog server after Google decomissioned its hosting service operations.

You should receive Bytes again as normal but bear with me if there are some initial teething problems.

Sunday, August 7, 2022


Readers will have noticed that emailed posts have been erratic and in some cases have not been sent at all.

The body which administers the site, Feedburner, has been mostly decommissioned by Google and is about to be stopped altogether.

I am trying to find an alternative service and to transfer all subscribers.

Stay patient, Byters.

Friday, August 5, 2022



Hilary Hinton "Zig" Ziglar (1926 – 2012) was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker.

Ziglar dropped out of college in 1947 and moved to Lancaster, South Carolina, where he took up a job as a salesman with the WearEver Cookware company. Ziglar was promoted to field manager and eventually divisional supervisor in 1950.

While working at the company, Ziglar became interested in self-help and motivational speaking and began giving speeches of his own.

Ziglar was a charter member in the establishment of American Salesmasters in 1963. The company's objective was to raise the image of salespeople in America by providing seminars. They booked an auditorium, put together a slate of speakers and contacted local businesses to sell tickets. Audiences included insurance agents, car salesmen, financial advisors, entrepreneurs, small business owners and curiosity seekers.

Eventually Ziglar spoke extensively as a motivational speaker and wrote over 30 books. His first book, See You at the Top, was rejected 39 times before it was published. It is still in print.

Ziglar died of pneumonia in 2012 aged 86.