Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Quote for the Day

Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887) 
was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, his emphasis on God's love, and his 1875 adultery trial.

20 of: Trench Art

Whilst watching an episode of Bargain Hunt on Youtube, an example of “trench art” came up. This particular item was a spent ship’s shell (try saying that quickly) with the names of the sailors of that ship carved into the brass. I mentioned to Kate that trench art was usually more elaborate (I did a post on this some years ago, as I recall), here are some comments and pics . . . 
Trench art is any decorative item made by soldiers, prisoners of war, or civilians where the manufacture is directly linked to armed conflict or its consequences. It offers an insight not only to their feelings and emotions about the war, but also their surroundings and the materials they had available to them.  
Not limited to the World Wars, the history of trench art spans conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars to the present day. Although the practice flourished during World War I, the term 'trench art' is also used to describe souvenirs manufactured by service personnel during World War II. Some items manufactured by soldiers, prisoners of war or civilians during earlier conflicts have been retrospectively described as trench art.  


Shell casings on the roadside near the front lines, WWI 

Pair of shell cases with the names of two French villages totally destroyed and not rebuilt later 

A shell case embossed with an image of two wounded Tommies approaching the White Cliffs of Dover 

Chromed metal trench art ashtray made from a 25 pounder shell casing, 1942 

Turkish tobacco jar made from the lower part of a German cartridge, 1914 

Bullet crucifix, WW1 

Trench art jug created by a sapper in the Royal Engineers whilst he was manning an underground telephone exchange in the Ypres district during the First World War. The jug was made from a British 18-pounder Mark II brass shell case. 

Decorated shell casings, WW 1 

Part of a collector’s display of trench art 

Carved brass mortar shell vases depicting a young couple wearing traditional Lorraine or Alsace costumes with matching floral decorations. France, WW1. 

WW1 Australian AIF Trench Art tankard, made 1916-1918 

Collection of trench art military caps from WW1 made from cartridge cases.

WW1 Period trench art desk stand with two ink wells, decorated with shells, bombs and bullets. 

P-38 metal airplane model ashtray, trench art Australia WWII with kangaroo 

A collection of trench art knives and letter openers 

WW1 Imperial German trench art letter opener 

Early WW1 era trench art inkwell, dated for 1916. 

Trench art sweetheart jewellery pin from WW2 

1941 trench art shell case, Nazi German Eagle Iron Cross, 1941

Monday, September 24, 2018

Quote for the Day

Quickfacts: Music


Vera Lynn, was born on 20 March 2017 and is still going strong. In 2000 she was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century. In 2017 she released an album “Vera Lynn 100” to commemorate her centennial year. It was a number 3 hit, making her the oldest recording artist in the world and first centenarian performer to have an album in the charts. 


Eric Clapton is a three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of The Yardbirds, Cream and as a soloist. 


Although The Yardbirds started as a blues cover band, their rave ups and innovations in feedback and distortion shaped such diverse genres as psychedelic rock, prog rock and punk. In addition to their six Top 40 songs, the Yardbirds will also be remembered as having produced the top three English blues-based guitarists of the Sixties: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. 

The Yardbirds, 1966. 
From left: Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Chris Dreja, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty. 

Clapton had left the group in 1965 after being frustrated at the commercial direction it was taking. He left the same day as “For Your Love” was released, the group’s first major hit. 

In 1996, Ringo Starr appeared in a Japanese advertisement for apple sauce, which is what "Ringo" means in Japanese. 


Freddie Mercury’s real name was Frederick Bulsara. 


Johnny Cash was originally diagnosed as having Parkinson's disease, which he announced to his audience after nearly collapsing on stage in Flint, Michigan, on October 25, 1997. Soon afterwards, his diagnosis was changed to neurodegenerative disease Shy–Drager syndrome, a form of multiple system atrophy, and Cash was told he had approximately 18 months to live. The diagnosis was later again altered to autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes. Cash died of complications from diabetes at approximately on September 12, 2003, aged 71, less than four months after his wife. June Carter, had died from complications following heart-valve replacement surgery. 

At his last public performance, a concert on July 5, 2003, Cash read a statement about his late wife that he had written shortly before taking the stage: 
The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and Heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from Heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has. She's never been one for me except courage and inspiration. I thank God for June Carter. I love her with all my heart. 

Johnny Cash continued to record until shortly before his death. One of his last albums contained a cover of "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails commented that he was initially skeptical about Cash's plan to cover "Hurt", but was later impressed and moved by the rendition. The video for "Hurt" received critical and popular acclaim, including a Grammy award. 


By the way, remember that part in the Joachim Phoenix pic about Johnny Cash, Walk the Line, where cash proposes to June Carter on stage? That really did happen. Cash proposed in front of an audience of 7,000 people in London, Ontario on February 22, 1968 and they were married a few weeks later in Franklin, Kentucky; June was 39 and Johnny was 36. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Thought for the Day

Some Word Origins


You may be happy, or maybe sad, to hear that Pics Week has finished.

Time for some wordy posts amd tyjhe first is about . . .words.

I was watching the Robert Downey Jnr Sherlock Holmes film again with the subtitles on and heard him say about one of the miscreants “Put him in the moriah.” That is how the subtitles showed the comment. It reminded me that in my younger days, the police wagons were called Black Marias (pronounced as Moriah, as in They Call the Wind Maria) and also as paddy wagons. I don’t know how they are referred to these days, but it allows me to set out some police/criminal word and name origins. 

Black Maria: 

The word “moriah” in the film was incorrect, it should have been Maria or Mariah. 

According to Wikipedia: 
Black Maria, a slang term for a police van used to transport prisoners, originally these were horse drawn and so could take some time to arrive at a crime scene. “Black Maria” was a famous racehorse of the day, born in Harlem USA in 1826. The name was sardonically applied to the police carriages (which were also usually colored black).


From the St Paul Police Police Historical Society website: 
The name "Black Maria" as applied to the closed police vans with separate locked cubicles used to convey prisoners to jail is a term of New England origin; the story connected with it being that back in the mid-1800s in Boston, Massachusetts, there lived a black woman named Maria Lee, who kept a lodging house for sailors. It was a waterfront place in the North End, where brawls were frequent. Maria, who was a large and powerful person, won a reputation for her ability to quell fights and bring offenders to jail. So successful was she in handling tough characters that the constables frequently enlisted her aid in bringing malefactors to book, and the story goes that when police wagons came into use in the 1830s, the Boston constables, remembering the great help the black woman had given them, immortalized her name in the term "Black Maria".

Black Maria was used in print publications of the period, and is still used today in parts of Britain and Australia for the vehicle that transports prisoners from "goal" to court . . . 

Most etymologists prefer the former explanation as to derivation. 


Paddy Wagon: 

From Wikipedia: 
In Australia, specifically New South Wales and Queensland, the term used to refer to a general duties vehicle with a prisoner cage on the back is generally Paddy Wagon or Bull Wagon.


Wikipedia offers three theories as to the origin of the term “Paddy Wagon”: 
  • In the United States, "Paddy" was a common Irish shortening of Padraig, (Patrick in English), which was most often used in the 19th century as an ethnic slur to refer to Irish people. Irishmen made up a large percentage of the officers of early police forces in many American cities. Thus, this theory suggests that the concentration of Irish in the police forces led to the term "paddy wagon" being used to describe the vehicles driven by police. The theory is weak because "paddy" was never a term used for police in general, and the majority of Irish people were not police. 
  • The most common understanding in the United Kingdom also stems from the belief that the most common occupants of the vans were Irish, though they were not driving, they were the arrested passengers. This comes from several perspectives: a) prejudice by English people that the Irish immigrants were largely common criminals; b) from the legendary stories of their fighting spirit and the fact that when arrested they were less likely to "go quietly" than other nationalities, requiring the use of the van rather than a carriage; and c) that the Irish liked to drink so much that drunken brawling would often ensue and thus the police van would be called to take them away into custody.
  • A third theory holds that "paddy wagon" was originally a nickname for "patrol wagon" in the same manner police cars are called patrol cars today. 

NSW Police Paddy Wagon 



I have often wondered why the term “grass” is used in England to describe an informer or as a verb eg to grass on someone. A grass may also be known in various locales as a squealer, nose, mole, snout or stool pigeon. 

There are also various theories on the origin of the term grass in the context of being an informant.

One is that it derives from “snake in the grass”, from the 17th century meaning of traitor or deviously dishonest person.

Another, and the more likely, is that its origin lies in rhyming slang. 

From The Phrase Finder: 
Farmer and Henley's 1893 Dictionary of Slang defines 'grasshopper' as 'copper', that is, policeman. The theory is that a 'grass' is someone who works for the police and so has become a surrogate 'copper'. The rhyming slang link was certainly believed in 1950 by the lexicographer Paul Tempest, when he wrote Lag's lexicon: a comprehensive dictionary and encyclopaedia of the English prison to-day
"Grasser. One who gives information. A 'squealer’ or ‘squeaker'. The origin derives from rhyming slang: grasshopper - copper; a 'grass' or 'grasser' tells the 'copper' or policeman."  


The Oz slang term for an informer – fizzgig – is no longer commonly used, at least not in my social milieu. 

From World Wide Words: 
Fizgig principally survives in Australian slang, where it means a police informer. It turns up first in the 1870s, perhaps as an extension of the female sense, considered stereotypically as dashing about madly and gossiping indiscreetly:

Without their allies — “the fizgigs,” the police seem powerless to trace the authors of the robberies which are now of such frequent occurrence.
Victorian Express (Geraldton, WA), 15 Nov. 1882.  

Stool Pigeon: 

From The Grammarist:
A stool pigeon is someone who is an informer for the police. The term first appeared in the early 1800s to mean a decoy pigeon. The word stool in the term stool pigeon comes from the sixteenth-century word stoale, which means tree stump. Presumably, the term stoale pigeon referred to a decoy pigeon that was affixed to a tree stump. By the 1800s the word stool pigeon referred to a person who was used in a sting operation to trap a criminal, a sort of human decoy. By the turn of the twentieth century, the term stool pigeon was used in American English to mean somebody who is an informant concerning a crime, usually a co-criminal who gives authorities information concerning a crime in exchange for his freedom. Stool pigeon is a compound word which is a term consisting of two words combined to take on a new, different meaning. The abbreviation of the word stool pigeon is stoolie.  

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Thought for the Day

Pics Week continued: More Sexist Ads from Past Years

I have previously posted sexist and racist ads from bygone years, here are some more sexist ones . . . 

Who is the target audience for buying office copiers when it is promoted by a woman wearing nothing below her waist and holding a football. 


And who is the target audience for this ad? Does my bum look big? The ad says that this bread “takes pounds off where they show most.” 


I’ve always maintained that Iced Vo Vo’s are superior to Tim Tams, even if they don’t satisfy women. 


Funny, I always thought that when Mick Jagger sang about "mother’s little helper" (read ad above) he was singing about Valium and such like. Now I know that she was running to the shelf to get some Kentucky Fried. 


I wonder if marriage counsellors know about this. 


 . . .and this. 


Now I know what to get my wife for Christmas. Apparently women long for this for years. 


Not using Odo-Ro-No = dumb. The ad is dumb and was dumb even back when it was first published. 




Has anyone else noticed the sexualised poses of the woman’s legs and her sitting, and that of the man with his hands in pockets pointing to his genitalia? Or is it just my mind?


Sublety is not a strongpoint in this ad. 


Nor in this one. 


More of the “A woman’s place is in the kitchen” thinking. 


From an ad for a construction company. 0 out of 10. 


Another ad from American Apparel, which deliberately creates sexist ads to promote controversy and exposure.


Q: Where does a woman belong? 
A: “We all know a woman’s place is in the home, cooking her man a delicious meal.” At least the early 1940’s thought so.