Sunday, February 23, 2020

Quote for the Day

People are aware that Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973), commonly referred to as LBJ, 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969, often had a particular, crude and crass turn of phrase. 

Erroneously attributed to him, in respect of the policy of winning hearts and minds during the war in Vietnam, is the quotation:

 “If you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” 

Correctly attributed to him are these sample quotes: 


Johnson outlining the degree of loyalty he expected from those around him, in the context of discussing a prospective assistant:

“I don’t want loyalty. I want loyalty! I want him to kiss my ass in Macy’s window at high noon and tell me it smells like roses. I want his pecker in my pocket.” 

(Quoted by D Halberstam in The Best and the Brightest [1972] ) 


Commenting on future president Gerald Ford: 

“He can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.” 

The US media self censored and reported the quote as: 

“He can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.” 


The above is by way of a segue to another quotation of LBJ’s that I came across last night that I had not previously read. 

The following item is from The Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, by Eric Goldman, at: 

Pres. Johnson was never hostile and rarely indifferent to international organizations for peace; he genuinely recognized the usefulness of the UN and of the battery of regional bodies created since WWII. But his cardinal doctrine--the necessity for America to move decisively to protect American interests--did not encourage him to worry long over the opinion of other nations. His spread-eagle patriotism, his disdain for the irresoluteness of group diplomacy, and his delight in barnyard language combined to build few bridges between him and diplomats assembled in international organizations.

Of the Latin American regional group, the Organization of American States, LBJ said on an occasion when he knew his words would be repeated, 
"It couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel." 

The OAS had been notoriously indecisive and ineffective, but one OAS diplomat remarked that it "made us think that your President does not consider us too important." 

Source: Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, by Eric F. Goldman, p.382 Mar 1, 1974

Artists: Daneile Barresi

Artist Daneile Barresi carves beautiful sculptures, but not in the traditional sense. Instead of using wood or stone, Barresi uses fruits, vegetables and cheeses for his unique carvings. 

He is 2 times world champion carving designer having won the WACS championship in both 2013 (Switzerland) and 2014 (Luxembourg) and being invited back as a judge in 2015 (Taiwan). His accolades also include carving National Champion 2015 (Italy), Carving European Champion 2015 (European Cruise) as well as overall European Champion artist 2015. 

What began as fruit carving has evolved to include a range of materials including soap, vegetable, cheeses, foam and resin, with many more mediums he is eager to explore. 

Oh, he also now lives in Sydney, Oz. 

When speaking to someone about his talent, I wondered why someone would choose to sculpt in a medium so temporary. The person simply responded “The top food venues pay a lot of money for it.” 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Quote for the Day


Mary (1867-1953), queen consort of King George V of Britain, on being informed of the death of her son, King George VI. 

The wedding of King George V, Queen Elizabeth's grandfather, and Queen Mary in 1893. 

Bonus quote: 

Prior to George becoming King, George and Mary visited Portsmouth where they were entertained by the Commander in Chief of the British fleet, Admiral Sir John Fisher. Sir John offered to take Prince George down in a submarine, an invitation which was readily accepted. Mary was not supportive but suppressed her feelings. As the vessel disappeared below the surface, she murmured “I shall be very disappointed if George doesn’t come up again.”

Some alcohol word and expression origins . . .


Yesterday I mentioned newts in some Funny Friday items. 

Coincidentally, whilst considering what to post, I came across an item prepared some time ago about the origin of the expression “pissed as a newt”, which I had then overlooked posting.

It also looked at the origin of some other expressions meaning intoxicated. 

Here is the first instalment.

Kate happened to ask me how the expression “as pissed as a newt”, which was used in program we were watching, had originated. I said that I had no clue, but it started me wondering from whence similar expressions – drunk as a lord, drunk as a skunk, full as a boot, full as a goog – had come. So here, dear Kate and readers, is a guide . . . 

Pissed as a newt: 

A newt is a salamander and is semiaquatic, alternating between aquatic and terrestrial habitats. 

Oops, wrong Newt, that's Newt Gringrich, former US Speaker of the House

Various origins of the expression "pissed as a newt" have been offered: 


That the US Government banned the sale of alcohol to Ute native Americans, the “newt” resulting from a mishearing of the word. (Sounds like BS to me.) 


That during a banquet King Henry VIII inquired as to what one young reveller had been drinking. His apologetic father asked that Henry forgive him, saying “Sire, he is but a youth and as for wine he is new to it!' This became an expression, pissed as new to it, which developed into pissed as a newt. 


In early England, brewers often added meat to the brewing process, which included small animals. Newts, being both terrestrial and aquatic, could survive longer than other animals and would ingest some of the liquid being brewed, giving rise to the expression. (Yechh!!) 


That Abraham Newton (1631-1698) of Grantham, the presumed author of the first known treatise on the medicinal properties of the beer of Burton-upon-Trent (now unfortunately lost), was such a well-known tippler that, in his lifetime, even Londoners would use the expression "Pissed as Abe Newton." 


That the original expression was “tight as a newt” from the fact, apparently, that the salamander has a tight skin (??) The expression “tight” originally referred to drunkenness. 


That it originated in the Victorian era, when professional mourners were called newts, and would therefore have been expected to drown their impersonal sorrows with alcohol. (There is no authority that professional mourners were called newts). 


That it comes from being too drunk to walk straight, by reference to the natural wobbling gait of a newt. 


In Nelson's time Royal Navy junior ensign's were known as "newts." Being so young it didn't take much rum to become inebriated. Hence the expression "pissed as a newt." 


Take your pick, but be aware that The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first written use of the expression as being in 1957: 

1957 “Christ, I'm pissed. I'm pissed as a newt.”
— World of Suzie Wong, by R.Mason, II. i. page 111 

Usually written usage is a guide to the period when the word was in use, so many of the explanations as to historical usage may be incorrect. 

Final thought, the expression appears in the musical Les Miserables. Remember Thenardier’s Master of the House number? 

Original illustration of Monsieur and Madame Thenardier

This is the introduction to Master of the House:

My band of soaks, my den of dissolutes 
My dirty jokes, my always pissed as newts 
My sons of whores (no, no, no, no, not tonight) 
Spend their lives in my inn 
Homing pigeons homing in 
They fly through my doors 
And they crawl out on all fours 



So how has the expression “pissed” come to mean intoxicated? 

Firstly, one should distinguish between the American usage of the term and the UK/Australian use. 

"Pissed" in American-speak commonly means annoyed and angry, much as in Oz we use that term as “pissed off”. In the UK and Australia, it means drunk. Someone saying “He’s totally pissed” would have different meanings if used about someone in America and Australia. 

How did that originate? There is no clear answer but note the following: 


“Piss” as a verb dates from the late 13th century, coming from the 12th century Old French “pissier” meaning “urinate", this coming from Vulgar Latin *pissiare”.  

“He shall not piss my money against the wall; he shall not have my money to spend in liquor. 
[Grose, "Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 3rd edition, 1796] 

He who once a good name gets, 
May piss a bed, and say he sweats. 
["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811] 


“Piss” as a noun comes from the late 14th century, from the above verb. 


My guess is that the resemblance of urine to beer, and the fact that that it causes the need to urinate, explain its usage for intoxication. 

Pissed as a fart: 

Origin unknown, perhaps referable to the loss of bodily functions when inebriated.

Mike Carlton was suspended from 2GB for saying on air that he was “Pissed as a fart”.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Thought for the Day

Funny Friday


Byter Leo M sent me some visual funnies by email during the week, some of them appearing below.  Others will be posted in the coming weeks.  Thanks Leo.

Some of his funnies are about aging so that sets the theme for this week as well.

Now, where was I?



A 90 year-old Jewish man is on his deathbed. Summoning his last bit of strength, he lifts his head and whispers: "Is my beloved wife Sarah here with me?" And Sarah says, "Yes, I am here."

He then says: "Are my children -- my wonderful children -- are they here with me?" And they reply, "Yes father, we are here with you to see you breathe your last."

And he says: "Are my brothers and sisters here with me as well?" And they too tell him that they are here.

So the old man lays back quietly, closes his eyes, and says, "If everybody is here ... why is the light on in the kitchen?"

Hey Nelly, does the above remind you of anyone we know?

See you tonight.

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm. A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, "You're really doing great, aren't you?"

Morris replied, "Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'"

The doctor said, "I didn't say that. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur. Be careful.'"

I've been told I'm condescending.

(That means I talk down to people).

That reminds me of Bob Newhart's quote:

I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'.

My girlfriend left a note on the fridge saying, “This isn’t working. I am leaving, good bye.”

I opened up the fridge and it seems to be working just fine...and she says I’m the stupid one?

A well respected doctor and his wife were having drinks during intermission in the lobby of the theatre during the opening night of a musical.  A blonde walked by wearing a curve hugging low cut dress that highlighted her legs and figure.

She smiled and gushed, "Well, hello there, Doc" and kept on going.

After a moment's pause, the good doctor looked at his wife and said, "Don't worry dear, that's just a young lady I know professionally."

Without missing a beat, his wife asked, "Hers or yours?”



Three old guys are out walking. The first one says, "Windy, isn't it?"

Second one says, "No, it’s Thursday!"

Third one says, "So am I. Let's go get a beer."

A group of old friends discussed where they should meet for lunch for their reunion.

They were all aged about 40.

Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because the waitresses there were pretty.

Ten years later, at age 50, the friends once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food was good and the wine selection was excellent.

Ten years later, at age 60, the friends again discussed where they should meet for lunch.

Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could dine in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.

Ten years later, at age 70, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had an elevator.

Ten years later, at age 80, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.



Archimedes, that well-known truth-seeker,
Jumped out of his bath with “Eureka!”
He ran half a mile
Wearing only a smile
And became the very first streaker.

One reason for posting this is that the trivia team of which I am a member is named “Eureka”.

“Eureka” is our current team name
When we play the trivia game.
We’ve been Bumfuzzle, 4Q,
Pizzle, 4Q2,
Now named for Eureka Stockade fame.

From the National Museum of Australia website at:

On 30 November 1854 miners from the Victorian town of Ballarat, disgruntled with the way the colonial government had been administering the goldfields, swore allegiance to the Southern Cross flag at Bakery Hill and built a stockade at the nearby Eureka diggings. 

“We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other, and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”
-         The oath taken by the rebels.
Early on the morning of Sunday 3 December, when the stockade was only lightly guarded, government troops attacked. At least 22 diggers and six soldiers were killed. 

Eureka is a significant event in the development of Australia’s representational structures and attitudes towards democracy and egalitarianism.

Taking the oath at the Eureka Stockade before the Eureka flag.

Attack by the troops.

The Eureka flag, displaying the Southern Cross

What remains today of the Eureka flag

Showing tyhe size of the flag





A man walks into a bar with a newt on his shoulder. The bartender says “What an interesting pet, what’s his name?” “Tiny” the man replies. “What an odd name, why do you call him Tiny?”

"Because…He’s my newt.”

A man walks into a bar with his friend's newt on his shoulder.

The bartender says "What an interesting pet, what do you call him?"

"Biggy" the man replies.

"Aww, how cute. Why do you call him that?"

"Because he's not my newt..."

I used to have a pet donkey. His name was Hotey. He was my Donkey Hotey.

I named my dog “5 miles” so I could say “I walked 5 miles”.

But today, I ran over 5 miles.

If life gives you melons, you're probably dyslexic.