Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Thought for the Day

I read the news today, oh boy . . .

Lest We Forget:

Tomorrow is Anzac Day in Oz, a particularly revered day.

From Wikipedia: 
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the Great War (1914–1918). 
The day is marked by dawn services in most cities and major towns,  the playing of the Last Post, a minute’s silence, Anzac Day marches and a blind eye by the police to gambling (a game called Two Up) in the pubs.

The symbols of Anzac Day are the wearing of a sprig of rosemary (remembrance) and the reciting of The Ode in the remembrance services:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

This is usually followed by the response “We will remember them.  Lest we forget.”

Many war memorials and monuments bear the words “Lest we forget.”

You will probably have gathered at least a little of the sacredness of the day and what it stands for.

It is therefore mindboggling that a local Sydney Council – the City of Canada Bay Council – erected commemorative banners showing pictures of servicemen with the words “Lest we forgot” instead of “Lest we forget”.

 It’s not even grammatical, for God’s sake.

How many hands must these banners have passed through and yet it was only after they had been erected and a member of the public drew the Council’s attention to it that the penny finally dropped.

According to the Council’s General Manager, Peter Gainsford: “I have today been made aware of banners that have been erected in our area containing an extremely unfortunate and disrespectful error.  I am extremely disappointed and accept full responsibility.  I have spoken to representatives of the Concord, Five Dock and Drummoyne RSL branches this morning and unreservedly apologised for any offence.”

According to ne comment left by a reader:

“At least we know it wasn't a deliberate mistake from those of the Left, they would have written Best We Forget.”

Anzac Buscuits:

Elsewhere in the news, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the holder of the rights to the use of the word “Anzac”, has warned that if bakeries and small businesses tamper with the classic Anzac biscuit they could be fined up to $51,000, while individual sellers are looking at a $10,000 fine.

A permit must be issued from Veterans’ Affairs to sell products using the word “Anzac” and, for Anzac biscuits, words such as cookies and bikkies are not permitted.

The original Anzac biscuits were made from rolled oats, flour, golden syrup and sugar with a later version adding coconut, being made in Oz from those ingredients (without eggs etc) so that they could be sent to the serving troops overseas during WW1.

Attitudes towards the warning, which is part of a wider crackdown by the federal government and RSL on businesses exploiting the s Anzac spirit for commercial gain, have ranged from denunciation to strong support.

Right to use (or not use) the word "Anzac":

The use of the word Anzac is protected by Government legislation dating from 1916, the only World War I-related regulations still in force in Australia, and it is strictly enforced.

One writer, Damien Murphy, has referred to it as “the most regulated word in the world. . . . a sort of secular holy word.”

Some examples of enforcement:

Melbourne photographer James Armstrong's Anzac Art Photo Enlargement Co in High Street, Northcote, was the first to be charged under the War Precautions Supplementary Regulations. Convicted and fined 10 shillings ($1) in October 1916, he appealed saying he named the store to honour his brother, a serving soldier.  He was unsuccessful.

In August 1917, a poster advertising a performance of "The Anzac Gollywog Co, featuring Dog Anzac ... who has seen 858 days active service" fell foul of the Anzac veto.  Dog owner Hector Walker told police he had taken the dog to Gallipoli and France but the Crown solicitor moved against him and Walker fled across the Murray to sanctuary in Melbourne. Due to jurisdiction problems the prosecution was discontinued.

In 1934 one of Australia's heroes and favourite sons, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, painted the word Anzac on a plane he intended to fly in the Centenary Race celebrating 100 years of European settlement in Victoria, see photo above. Smithy had served at Gallipoli, and was a great and heroic commercial brand at the height of the Depression.  However the powers that be refused permission and he renamed the plane Lady Southern Cross.  That was the plane in which he disappeared in 1935.

Much more recently, in 2015, Woolworths (the Australian Woolworths is a different entity to the US Woolworths, someone registered the name in Oz early on) – “The Fresh Food People” – took flak for its cynical exploitation of the word.  The supermarket giant was attempting to associate its "Fresh Food People" logo with "Lest We Forget" in a campaign named “Fresh in Our Memories” but abandoned it amid widespread outrage.  Permission to use the word had not been requested.  Woolworths denied that the campaign had been a marketing one but shut down the website and took down the posters.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Quote for the Day

Bytes Bits


Judge called for jury duty in own case:

A news item from last week reported that Judge Keith Cutler, the senior resident judge of Winchester and Salisbury since 2009, told a jury in Salisbury Crown Court that he had been called for jury duty in that case.  According to the judge:

“I was selected for jury service here at Salisbury Crown Court for a trial starting April 23. I told the Jury Central Summoning Bureau that I thought I would be inappropriate seeing I happened to be the judge and knew all the papers.  They wrote back to me, they picked up on the fact I was the judge but said ‘Your appeal for refusal has been rejected but you could apply to the resident judge’, but I told them ‘I am the resident judge’.  I had to phone them up and they realised it was a mistake.”

In a final comment, Judge Keith commented:

“I would have liked to have done the jury service to see what it was like and whether I would have liked the judge.”



I was reading up on the Simon & Garfunkel song “America” (“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together . . . “) and came across some references to Saginaw. Remember the line “It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw . . .”? 

The song was written and composed by Paul Simon, and concerns young lovers hitchhiking their way across the United States, in search of "America," in both a literal and figurative sense. It was inspired by a 1964 road trip that Simon took with his then girlfriend Kathy Chitty.

In 2004, Bob Dyer, a former disc jockey from Saginaw, Michigan, explained how Simon wrote the song when visiting Saginaw in 1966.  Dyer had booked Simon for a concert series hosted by the Saginaw YMCA. 
I asked Paul Simon if they were still charging the $1,250 we paid them to play and he said they were getting about four times that much then. Then I asked him why he hadn't pulled out, and he said he had to see what a city named Saginaw looked like. Apparently, he liked it; he wrote 'America' while he was here, including that line about taking four days to hitchhike from Saginaw. 
In 2010, lyrics from the song began appearing spray-painted on vacant buildings and abandoned factories in the town of Saginaw, Michigan, which is mentioned in the song. The group of artists, Paint Saginaw, decided to paint the phrases after the population had dwindled vastly.  The song's entire lyrics are painted on 28 buildings in the city, including railroad tracks and bridge supports.


Isaac Newton’s bodkin:

Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1726) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus, whatever tis.

What is lesser known is his sticking a needle in his eye and moving it around as a means of testing on himself.  What???

As noted above, Newton studied, amongst other things, optics. 

Wondering whether the ability to see colours was influenced by the eye, Newton stuck a bodkin between his eyelid and eye and dug around the backside of his eyeball. 

How do we know all this?  Because like Samuel Pepys and his diary, he recorded it in his notebooks, even including illustrations: 

He learned that, when you poke yourself in the eye, you disrupt your vision.  When he stuck the bodkin between his eyeball and his eye socket, “as neare to backside of my eye as I could”, then he saw spots.  Those spots were clearest “when I continued to rub my eye [with the] point of bodkine”.

A man of vision indeed.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Thought for the Day

Easter Sunday


A happy Easter Sunday to all Byters.

Some Jesus-themed humour follows. Although not disrespectful, those who may be offended should not read further.


A little boy and his mother, shopping for Easter candies and decorations, ran into their minister in the store. Mom and reverend exchanged a little chit-chat. Then the reverend looked at little Johnny and asked, “So, what are you up to today?” “Oh,” Johnny said, “We’re getting ready for Easter!” Seeing a pedagogical opportunity, the reverend replied “Oh really? Hey, just what exactly is Easter anyway? Do you know what happened on Easter?” Little Johnny looked at the reverend a little offended. “Of course I know what Easter is. It’s when Jesus went to Jerusalem, and he rode a donkey, and they waved palms at him.” “That’s right, go on” said the reverend.” “And he got in trouble and he was beat up and yelled at and then they nailed him on a cross and then he died.” “Very good Johnny! What happened next?” “Well then they put him in a tomb and they put a big rock in front of it. But three days later he got raised and got out of there.” “Johnny, that’s great!” said the reverend, pleased to know his Sunday School program worked so well. “But that’s not all” said Johnny. “Oh, said reverend, what else?” “Well, the rock got rolled back, and he stepped out, and he looked around, and if he sees his shadow there’s six more weeks of winter.” 


Jesus: What do people call the day I was crucified? 

Me: Good Friday. We call it "Good Friday." 

Jesus: What the fuck?? 


Jesus: Well, how do you celebrate my resurrection? 

Me: We eat chocolate bunnies. 

Jesus: Am I being punk'd? 


[In Heaven, after the crucifixion] 

Jesus: They were horrible Dad, I’m pleased I’m not going back there. 

God: [rubbing his neck] See, the thing is . . . 



Okay, so we know about Jesus when he’s a baby, and Jesus when he’s an adult, but does the Bible ever mention his rebellious teenage years? 

“Jesus, go feed the donkey.” 


The ground shakes a little and a voice comes down from the sky. 

“Do what your stepfather says, you little shit.” 






More a visual one but worth including, from the 2009 road movie Charlie and Boots, Paul Hogan as Charlie talking to his son, nicknamed Boots:

So one day God was sitting around in Heaven on his Lay-Z-Boy recliner. Well, he can if he wants to - he's God. 

And he saw his son come in and he said, "Jesus, lad, over here." He said, "I've been looking down at Earth and it's a terrible mess. I'm gonna have to send you down there to straighten them out." 

And Jesus said, "My pleasure, Dad." 

"There's a bit of a drawback, though, " he said. "I'm gonna have to send you as a human being. You'll be mortal and I'm afraid you're gonna have to die for their sins." 

Jesus says, "Ohhh, you know, OK, your wish is my command, " etc. 

He said, "Look, son, the best thing I can do, though, is I can give you a choice in how you're gonna die. You can either be crucified or you can be stung to death by killer bees” 

And that's the reason that all over the world today, Christians make the sign of the cross (makes the sign of the cross). and not... 
(gesticulates with both arms and hands as though wildly trying to wave away bees). 


Old man Cohen is getting along in years. He decides to retire and let his 3 sons run the company, which manufactures a wide variety of nails. The sons think that they can increase market-share with some judicious billboard advertising. 

A week later the old man is taking his usual Sunday drive in the country when he sees a huge billboard ad with a picture of Christ on the Cross. The caption reads "Nails for Every Purpose. Use Cohen’s Nails." 

The old man immediately meets with his 3 sons to voice his concern. He tells themn that the backlash could be horrendous and that he wants to see noi further ads showing Christ crucified. The sons agree to do so. 

A week later the old man is again taking his usual Sunday drive when he sees a billboard with a picture of the same cross, empty. The caption reads “If they had used Cohen’s Nails, He would still be there.”


 In the same vein . . .