Friday, November 30, 2012

Funny Friday

Today’s Funny Friday is somewhat different. Not everyone will like it but, as one Mr Ricky Nelson once said when singing about a garden party, you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself. 

Recently I again came across a reference to the phrase “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered). These are the words that Julius Caesar uttered in 47BC, not as is commonly thought upon the Roman invasion of Britain but in respect of the short war against King Pharnaces 11 of Pontus at the battle of Zela. 

It reminded me that years ago I had been a guest at an Italian wedding where local standup comic Vince Sorrenti had been one of the performers. A very funny man. He commented on the Italian penchant for concreted and tiled gardens and asked “Have you ever met an Italian who owned a lawn mower?”   He also commented that the motto of the Italians is “I came, I saw, I concreted.” 

I was aware of the humorous alternative version of the Veni, Vidi, Vici phrase, namely:

but I was not aware of a host of other versions: 

Veni, Vidi, Velcro 
I came, I saw, I stuck around. 
(It has also been suggested that this means I came, I saw, I gathered lint).

Veni Vidi Volavi 
I came, I saw, I flew (away) 

Veni Vidi Volo In Domum Redire 
I came, I saw, I want to go home. 

Veni Vidi Venus 
I came, I saw, I must see more!

Veni, vidi, rideo risi risum meus clunis abscindo! 
I came, I saw, I laughed my rear end off!

Veni, vidi, clamavi clarissima voce 
I came, I saw, I screamed in a very loud voice!

Veni, Vidi, VISA 
I came, I saw, I shopped. 

Veni, Vidi, Video 
I came, I saw, I got it on tape. 

Veni, Vidi, Vito 
I came, I saw, I paid my loan shark 

Veni, Vidi, Vacuui 
I came, I saw, I left 

Veni, Vidi, Vamoose 
I came, I saw, I left) 

Veni, Vidi, V8 
I came, I saw, I went very quickly 

Veni, Vidi, Volley 
I came, I saw, I played tennis 

Veni, Vidi, Fiji 
I came, I saw, I ran away as far as possible 

Veni, Vidi, Vacuum 
I came, I saw, I cleaned up 

Veni, Vidi, Volvo 
I came, I saw, I drove 

Veni, Vidi, Verily 
I came, I saw, I concurred 

A by the way moment: 

The saying is used as the motto for the US Army Sniper School in Fort Benning, Georgia, where soldiers are trained in marksmanship, sniper equipment and tactics, collection of battlefield intelligence, stalking and other sniper-related skills.

Unfortunately the first word of the motto as used by the school has been  misspelled.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spitting Image

Someone sent me a text message asking me to look into a matter that has been the source of debate: whether the correct term for something that is similar in appearance, eg a child being similar to a parent, is a “splitting image” or a “spitting image”. Unfortunately I can’t locate the text message and cannot credit who asked me. My apologies to that person, although I think I know who it was.

It would make sense to assume that the correct term is “splitting image”, a splitting from the original to make an identical copy. Indeed this is a procedure in carpentry, known as “fiddleback”, whereby timber is split to obtain pieces with similar grains. 

An example illustrative of the procedure’s name, fiddleback. 

The correct term for similarity is, however, “spitting image”, dating from the 17th century. Back then it was said of children who resembled a parent that they could have been spat from the mouth of the parent. In a somewhat unpleasant way it suggested that such spitting could account for the similarity. In some strange way spitting = cloning.

In the 1689 comic play Love and a Bottle, George Farquhar wrote "Poor child! He's as like his own dadda as if he were spit out of his mouth." 

The Newgate Calendar, 1824–26, by Andrew Knapp and W. Baldwin contains the line "A daughter, ... the very spit of the old captain." 

The term “spitting image” appeared later, evolving from the above terms. Originally it was “spit and image” (that is, that a child was of the same stock as the parents, the spit, and of the same appearance, the image), which over time was shortened to “spitting image”. This in turn was further shortened to “the spit” (“He is the spit of his father”) and “dead spit” where “dead” meant “certainty”, as in dead ringer, dead shot, dead heat and dead centre. 

E Castle’s 1895 work, Lt of Seathey, contains the line "She's like the poor lady that's dead and gone, the spit an' image she is." 

The first known use of 'spitting image' is in A. H. Rice's Mrs. Wiggs, 1901: "He's jes' like his pa - the very spittin' image of him!" 

By the way:

I recall that when I was a youngster, the markets in Sydney, the original Paddy’s Market, had prominent signs warning that the penalty for expectorating was £5.

Years later I heard it said that the signs were a complete waste of time, that those who knew what “expectorate” meant didn’t go around spitting and that those who did spit wouldn’t know what the word meant.

I have enabled comments to everyone again, after some readers told me of difficulties in trying to leave a comment.  I'll persevere with the spammers a while longer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reader Comments

I recently changed the settings for comments whereby only members may now leave a comment. This is because this blog was being spammed by the same spammer every day, leaving up to 15 comments that sought connection to various blogs promoting crap stuff for sale. I have removed them but don’t like having to do it as a daily task. To become a member, use the subscription panel at right and follow the prompts. Once subscribed you will receive the new posts in your email each day. You can then respond to me by email or post comments on the blog itself. There is no hidden charge or risk.

Leo, commenting on the Pete Seeger post: 

Otto, his (half) sister, Peggy, performed at the Illawarra Folk Festival last January, She was fantastic. 

(Note: Peggy Seeger was born in 1935 and is a muso and singer, playing the guitar, banjo, dulcimer, concertina, autoharp and piano. She has lived in Britain for the last 30 years. Hubby Ewan MacColl wrote “The First Time Ever I Saw Your face” in her honour. Like brother Pete, she ran foul of McCarthyism and remained a dedicated activist. 

Kerrie on the Pete Seeger post: 

Great article, Otto. As a child of the 60's I have spent my share of time at protests and have been listening to Seeger for many years but did not know his story. I did not realise how old he is. 

Robyn on photorealistic art and the pic of Acacia skating: 

A fabulous photo - the reflection on the concrete slab is "painterly". A bit of photorealiasm in reverse. I'm with you ( I think) on the photorealism question; whilst I am aghast at the skill entailed why not just stay with the photo especially now they can be transposed to just about any surface including canvas. To me the art is in the interpretation of a subject ( or non subject) and the expression thereof in paint (or other medium). I especially enjoy the sculptural qualities of oil paint as exemplified in Ben Quilty's portrait of Margaret Olley. There are also a couple of awe inspiring examples at the White Rabbit Gallery. 

Leo on the pic of Acacia: 

Your kids will kill you for doing this.

Stanmore Photograph

One of the features of life in the Technology Age is the rapid growth of the availability of cameras. Just about every phone has a camera. 

On my way back to the office from the city I was stopped at lights on Parramatta Road in Stanmore. The photo below is of a sign above the awning of some nearby premises.  I had time to grab only one shot on my phone. 

The reason that I took the photo is that the sign is above the awning of a brothel. I have no idea who wrote the sign, why it is there or what the circumstances are. Let your mind fill in the blanks.

The following is a detail from the pic:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Quote: R v Baker

Caution: strong language and swear words

Mr Justice Daubney

On 29 October 1880, Ned Kelly engaged in spirited exchanges with the presiding judge at his murder trial, Mr Justice Redmond Barry. That exchange, in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Melbourne, has been the subject of a previous Bytes and can be read at: 

Some 142 years later, in the Supreme Court of Queensland, Brisbane, one David Allan Baker engaged Mr Justice Martin Daubney in repartee which was also spirited but left a lot to be desired as far as courtesy was concerned. 

I am indebted to Byter Leo for putting me onto it in an email. 

After receiving it I looked into the background and circumstances of Mr Baker’s colourful discussion with Judge Daubney and found that the transcript was entirely accurate. 

Background to the case: 

Baker, 50, had been charged with attempted murder after stabbing his former girlfriend Margaret Revesz, 42, in the heart with a knife on 2 November 2009 at her Bray Park home, 25 kilometres north of Brisbane. On 22 June 2012 he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. The jury was told that Baker, after allegedly stabbing Ms Revesz in the heart twice, told her: "Margie, what have I done? Will you wait for me? I'm going to jail for a long time.'' 

Upon being convicted and sentenced, a section of transcript was released that had not previously been reported on or published in that it could have been prejudicial to his trial if a juror had read it. 

Background to the transcript: 

When Baker’s case had come to trial on an earlier occasion, he had been granted an adjournment after he had sacked his legal team, barrister and solicitors. 

Baker sacked his new solicitor on June 3, the day before the trial was to start. The solicitor and the barrister briefed by the solicitor thereupon sought leave to withdraw from the proceedings. Daubney J granted leave but directed that the trial should still proceed the next day as listed, as it did with new legal counsel appointed to represent Baker. 

Baker wasn’t too happy at Judge Daubney's insistence that the trial proceed and let his displeasure be known to His Honour, who managed to remain calm and dignified. 

The transcript: 

HIS HONOUR: I have been informed, Mr Baker, that you wish to dispense with the services of your solicitor and as a consequence of that your barrister is also seeking leave to withdraw, which means you will be self-represented for this trial. Do you understand that? 


HIS HONOUR: So you'll be representing yourself for this trial, do you understand? 

DEFENDANT: No, no way in the world. 

HIS HONOUR: Yes, way in the world. 

DEFENDANT: I'll get a new solicitor and barrister. 

HIS HONOUR: No, you tried that last time, Mr Baker. 

DEFENDANT: Look, now listen here, mate, you don't know what you're fucking talking about. 

HIS HONOUR: Now you listen to me. 

DEFENDANT: Don't blooming start your shit, right, mate. 

HIS HONOUR: You listen here Mr Baker. 

DEFENDANT: You weren't fucking there so don't start your crap. 

HIS HONOUR: Mr Baker. 

DEFENDANT: Were you there? 

HIS HONOUR: Mr Baker. 

DEFENDANT: Were you there? Were you there? No you fucking weren't. 

HIS HONOUR: Mr Baker. 

DEFENDANT: Because the arseholes did the wrong thing. Right? Read your fucking paragraph or scripts, mate. Don't start putting your fucking heavy crap on me. 

HIS HONOUR: Now, Mr Baker... 

DEFENDANT: You can get stuffed. 

HIS HONOUR:...the trial will be... 

DEFENDANT: I don't give a ... 

HIS HONOUR:...proceeding.... 

DEFENDANT: ...fuck, you and your trial mate. Stick your trial up your fucking arse. I'll go. 

HIS HONOUR: Sit down please Mr Baker. 

DEFENDANT: No, get stuffed. 

HIS HONOUR:  Oh, all right. Now, Mr Baker, the trial will be proceeding. There is one matter that does need to be attended to. The principal witness for the Crown in this trial is a person who has the status of a ... 

DEFENDANT: I don't even know why you're fucking talking about mate. Talk in normal lingo, language. 

HIS HONOUR: The complainant in respect of the count of attempted murder is a person who ... 

DEFENDANT: Who are you fucking talking about? 

HIS HONOUR: ... is a... 

DEFENDANT: Stop talking in riddles. 

HIS HONOUR: ... is a protected witness under the Evidence Act and for the purposes of the trial, you will not be ... 

DEFENDANT: I don't know what you're fucking talking about. 

HIS HONOUR: Well, if you stop shouting at me and listen to what I'm saying you might start understand. 

DEFENDANT: What do you want me to fucking do? 

HIS HONOUR: What I want you to do is stop swearing at me and listen to me. 

DEFENDANT: I'm not going to fucking stop swearing at you. 

HIS HONOUR: All right then, it's a matter for you. 

DEFENDANT: Stick your fucking trial up your arse. 

HIS HONOUR: That won't be happening to me. 

DEFENDANT: I couldn't give a shit mate. 

HIS HONOUR: Well, that's a matter for you. 

DEFENDANT: Well you can start your trial and stick it up your arse cause I'm not having anything to do with it. 

HIS HONOUR: Sit down. 

DEFENDANT: No you get fucked. 

HIS HONOUR: Sit down. 

DEFENDANT: Go and get fucked. 

HIS HONOUR: Sit down, please. 

DEFENDANT: I'm not fucking doing what you say. Up you. 

HHIS HONOUR: Sit down. 

DEFENDANT: You're not going to fucking tell me I'm going to be representing meself at all. I need legal aid. I need representation and not you and or any other fucking arseholes gonna tell me anything different. 

HIS HONOUR:  Sit down, please. 

DEFENDANT: No, get stuffed. 

HIS HONOUR: If you don't sit down I'll have you manacled. 

DEFENDANT: You can fucking have what you like mate. 

HIS HONOUR: Corrective Services could you please restrain the accused.. 

Baker: Fuck you. 

HIS HONOUR:  Mr Bailiff, could you ask security to attend the court please. 

DEFENDANT: Do what you fucking like. I've got no representation so that's it I'm not listening. I don't give a damn what you say . 

HIS HONOUR: The next people entering the court are the court security staff. 

DEFENDANT: Oh, what do you want me to do? What do you want, a Mickey Mouse badge? 


DEFENDANT: Stick it on your fat chest? Hey? What do you want? A Mickey Mouse badge. Come on fatso, what have you got to say for that? 

DEFENDANT: Oh, the mouse has gone quiet. 

HIS HONOUR: Security could I ask you to take up positions immediately behind the accused. If he moves from that chair you are to assist the Corrective Services personnel in restraining him. You are not to move, do you understand me Mr Baker. 

DEFENDANT: Get fucked. 

HIS HONOUR: Mr Baker, because (Margaret) Revesz ... 

DEFENDANT: Listen here lardarse, no fuck you. I don't give a fucking shit what you say. 

HIS HONOUR: Because Ms R... 

DEFENDANT: I don't give a shit what you fuckin' say. 

HIS HONOUR: ... is a protected witness ... 

DEFENDANT: I'm telling you now you can get fucked. All right? 

HIS HONOUR: ... the law requires ... 

DEFENDANT: Are you stupid or what? I don't give a shit what you fuckin' say. 

HIS HONOUR: ... that I arrange for you to be given free legal assistance by Legal Aid. 

DEFENDANT: I don't give a fuck. I couldn't give a shit what you say. What, are you deaf? 

HIS HONOUR: ... for the cross-examination of that protected witness.... 

DEFENDANT: Hey, lardarse, can't you fuckin' hear me? 

HIS HONOUR: ... unless you arrange for legal representation .. 

DEFENDANT: What are you deaf? 

HIS HONOUR: ... or unless you do not want that protected witness to be cross-examined. 

DEFENDANT: What the fuckin' talking about, I don't know what you're fuckin' talking about, lardarse. 

HIS HONOUR: Is there anything that you want to say in relation to me making an order ... 

DEFENDANT: Yeah, I don't know what you're fuckin' talking about, you silly old cunt. 

HIS HONOUR: Thank you for that submission, in which case I order... 

DEFENDANT: Well, you can fuckin' order what you like. 

HIS HONOUR: ... that Ms R... 

DEFENDANT: Order me a fuckin' pizza while you're at it. 

HIS HONOUR: ... is a protected witness for this proceeding ... 

DEFENDANT: Who gives a shit. 

DEFENDANT: Wait, what are these two fuckheads doing here then if they're not fuckin' representing me? 

HIS HONOUR: I give you leave to withdraw. Thank you both very much for your assistance. 

DEFENDANT: Yeah, piss off. Fuckin’ dogs. 

Some discussion about the trial opening... 

DEFENDANT: What's this fuckin' opening brief and that you're talking about, lardarse? 

HIS HONOUR:If your opening is going to be that short then you'll want to call the complainant pretty well straight away. 

CROWN PROSECUTOR: That's so, yes. I would submit the most prudent course is perhaps to allow the panel to go and then look to empanelling them tomorrow. 

HIS HONOUR: Yes, all right then. Now, Mr Baker, you can continue to interrupt me or you can listen to what I'm going to say. 

DEFENDANT: I don't give a fuck, I need representation. 

HIS HONOUR: No we're beyond that stage. 

DEFENDANT: No, hey, listen here you fuckin' stupid old cunt, I've got fuckin' paperwork here, if you weren't so pigheaded and using your big fuckin' fat lard arse, you might have fuckin' read it before you fuckin' jumped the gun, eh, but no, you had your fuckin' cocking mates here going on like a two bob fuckin' watch. I never said anything about fuckin' Don MacKenzie. I had a complaint against Ken fuckin' MacKenzie, right, not my barrister. I had nothing to complain about him, it was the other fuckin' prick and I wrote you a letter to fuckin' explain why. 

HIS HONOUR: was there anything else you wanted to say to me at the moment? 

DEFENDANT: Yeah, why don't you fuckin' read it and see why I wanted to - what was it - blimmin' to adjourn for a while. There was a fuckin' reason for it. 

HIS HONOUR: No, there's no adjournments, Mr Baker, you've had ... 

DEFENDANT: Well, I don't give a stuff. You can't fuckin' sentence me or do anything because I'm doing a plea. The thing was when I got my plea overturned last fuckin' time, did you read it, why - what happened was because the barrister and solicitor stuffed up. I was putting in a complaint about Ken MacKenzie not revealing the parts I needed for my trial but you wouldn't listen. 

HIS HONOUR: Thank you for that information. Now what's going to happen is this ... 

DEFENDANT: I don't give a shit what happens, anyone comes in here, I'll fuckin disturb and I'll run amok. 

HIS HONOUR: Not in my courtroom you won't. 

DEFENDANT: Hey, don't fuckin' tell me I fuckin' won't mate. 

HIS HONOUR: Not in my courtroom you won't. 

DEFENDANT: You think these fuckin' jokers are going to worry me? Or the screws, what are you going to fuckin' do? 

HIS HONOUR: Whether they worry you or not is a matter for you. 

DEFENDANT:What are you going to fuckin' do to me. 

HIS HONOUR: What I'm going to do to you is tell you that your trial is starting tomorrow. 

DEFENDANT: Oh no fuckin' way mate. 

HIS HONOUR: Oh yes, your trial is starting tomorrow. 

DEFENDANT: You want a fuckin' bet? You want a fuckin' bet? I'll tell you what, I'll make a fuckin' bet, I'll make a bet with you and I tell you what, you'll lose your fuckin' fat arse. I'll put myself in medical, you cunt. I'll fuckin' slash up or I'll do something. You don't fuckin' threaten me you fuckin' dog. 

HIS HONOUR: You can take the accused down, thank you. I'll see you tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock. 

DEFENDANT: No I fuckin' won't, I tell you fuckin' now, you fuckin' lard arse. 

HIS HONOUR: Thank you for coming up gentleman, I'm grateful. I was actually called much worse things on the rugby paddock you know. 

“I don't know what you're fuckin' talking about, you silly old cunt.”
“Thank you for that submission.”

"Stick your fucking trial up your arse." 
"That won't be happening to me."

Love it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Pic: Acacia

I mentioned last week that for the next few Mondays I was going to post a photo of each of my kids as the Monday Pic and that hopefully you wouldn’t be bored by them; that I believed that each photo had a general appeal, whether of humour, innocence or whimsy. I came across the photos when tidying some shelves.

Today’s pic is of my daughter, Acacia, then aged 8. She had gone to bed wanting to rollerskate in the morning on the concrete slab that remained after an old shed had been demolished. Unfortunately it rained during the night and into the morning but a little rain doesn't stop a determined skater. 

A bit of a Gene Kelly moment except that he didn’t sing and dance in the rain in his pyjamas...

Acacia now:

On safari in South Africa a few weeks ago.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sleeping Beauty and the issue of consent

Once upon a time in a land far away there was a fairy story that involved rape, children born of rape, adultery, murder and cannibalism, and they all lived happily ever after. And the name of the story was Sleeping Beauty. Actually it was the original version of the story that contained those elements. 

This came up in a discussion with Maryann (a solicitor in our office) and my son Thomas (6 months off being a solicitor) as to consent and lack thereof in sexual assault cases. It was mentioned that the prince’s kiss of the unconscious Sleeping Beauty, and also of Snow White, would today be an assault and probably an indecent assault. I said that in the original Sleeping Beauty the prince did more than just plant a kiss on the lips of Sleeping Beauty but Thomas and Maryann were skeptical. Having grown up on Disney, such a scenario would make it difficult to accept. Nonetheless it is true. 

Fairy Tales: 

Although few of the tales actually incorporate fairies, the term has come to refer to the style of short story that typically features fantasy characters from folklore. These include witches, fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, mermaids, gnomes and so on. Often they include magic and enchantment. As with most forms of storytelling, these stories were originally passed and handed down orally from person to person. Anyone who remembers the Jim Henson The Storyteller series (I loved that!) will also recall the opening words to each episode: “When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, foretold the future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for... The Storyteller.” Renaissance writers such as Straparola and Basile first put these into written form, later collectors such as Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm putting them into collected works, amending and revising them in the process. The term “fairy story” came to be applied to such stories in the late 17th century. 

Sleeping Beauty: 

Sleeping Beauty was originally an oral story, put into written form by Basile, then revised by Perrault. The Brothers Grimm published a further version, that being the basis for the Disney version, the latter two being the best known. 

The Basile version: 

Giambattista Basile (1575-1632) was an Italian poet, courtier, soldier and fairy tale collector. Today he is best known for his collection of fairy tales known, as Pentamerone, published posthumously by his sister in 1634 and 1636, which contains the earliest known versions of Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. 

In Basile’s 1636 version The Sleeping Beauty tale was called Sun, Moon and Talia

In that story a king was forewarned by astrologers that his newborn daughter, Talia, was in great danger from a poisoned splinter of flax within the palace walls. The king immediately ordered a ban on flax inside the palace walls. When she was grown Talia discovered an old woman spinning flax at a spinning wheel. She asked to try and was poisoned by the splinter entering her finger, falling down as though dead. The sorrowful King had his daughter’s body placed on a velvet cloth, locked the castle tight and left. One day a king was hunting near the castle. His falcon flew into the castle through as window and he was forced to enter also, to look for it when it did not come back. Inside the castle he saw Talia, her body preserved and who seemed to be asleep. He was struck by her beauty, so much so that he had his way with her. Not needing to engage in post coital conversation, he then left. Nine months later, still comatose, she gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, who were cared for by fairies and who had also acted as midwives for the birth. The fairies also assisted Talia breastfeeding the babies but one day the boy baby has trouble finding his mother’s breast and instead sucks her finger, thereby sucking out the poisonous splinter and enabling Talia to awaken. No doubt she was surprised to find that having fallen asleep at the spinning wheel, she had awakened as a single mother with two children. She named the children Sun and Moon (Zappa would have been pleased) and loved them. The fairies continued to provide food and drink. 

Some time later the king returned on another booty call, unaware that he had knocked up the unconscious Talia and that he was now the proud father of two children. He was also surprised to find Talia alive and well. He told her all that had happened, that he loved her and that he would bring her to his kingdom. He then returned to his wife. In his sleep he calls out their names, enabling his wife to find out about his new bff and two exnuptial children. She sent a message to Talia in his name that he missed his children and should send them, which she did. The king’s wife ordered the cook to cut their throats and to present them as dishes to the king. That night he enjoyed the array of dishes presented. The wife then summoned Talia in the king’s name, saying that he loved her and missed her. She rushed to him, only to be confronted by the wife who was set to burn her in a great fire. When the king arrived and intervened, his wife told him that he had eaten his children and that Talia would now be burned. The king orders that his wife be burned instead and summons the cook to have him also burnt. He confesses that he hid the children with his wife and instead slaughtered some goats that were then presented in the meal. The king is overjoyed. He promotes the cook and gives him a rich reward, marries Talia and they live happily ever after. 

The moral of the story, its last line, is stated to be that 

"Lucky people, so 'tis said, 
He who has luck may go to bed, 
And bliss will rain upon his head." 

An alternative version: "The person who is favoured by fortune has good luck even while sleeping." 

Read this version at: 

The Perrault version: 

Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a French author who is today best remembered for having published in 1695, at the age of 67, a collection of children’s stories which marked the advent of a new literary genre, the fairy story. His Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals, subtitled Tales of Mother Goose, included works from pre-existing folk tales. The best known are Cinderella, Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood, as well as a reworked version of Basile’s Sun, Moon and Talia, now called The Beauty Sleeping in the Wood. 

Significant differences in the Perrault version are that: 
  • Instead of the coma being prophesied, it comes about from a curse placed on the child by a wicked fairy not invited to the christening. She says that the child will prick her finger on a spindle and die. The curse is ameliorated by a fairy who had not yet given a gift. Not strong enough to remove it altogether, she changes it to a sleep of 100 years, to be awoken by a prince. 
  • When she falls into the sleep at the age of 15, the god fairy also makes everyone else in the castle (the king and queen are away) fall asleep and covers the castle with briars. 
  • The princess is awakened by the prince falling to his knees in front of the beautiful, sleeping princess (who is never named in the story). 
  • They are married by the castle chaplain, everyone else having also awoken. 
In Part 2 of the story the prince keeps the marriage secret from his stepmother, an ogre. The princess, his wife, has two children, Dawn and Day. She likewise orders the children to be killed and cooked but they are spared by the cook. When the princess is to be thrown into a pit of poisonous vipers, the prince intervenes and the ogress throws herself into the pit. 

Then they all lived happily ever after. 

The Grimm Version: 

The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) are best known as storytellers of European folk tales. Their works popularised stories such as Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White. 

The Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty, called Little Briar Rose, retains the Perrault storyline except that the prince awakens the princess with a kiss and omits Part 2. It is also a lot shorter. 

So there you have it. And now here is my prediction: that every time you see or hear of Prince Charming kissing Snow White or the prince kissing Sleeping Beauty whilst they are both in suspended animation, you will recall this article.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pete Seeger

Following on from some past posts about age, here is another item, this time the lyrics to a Pete Seeger song. He can be viewed singing it at: 

There are some worthwhile messages in there . . . 

Old age is golden, or so I’ve heard said, 
But sometimes I wonder, as I crawl into bed, 
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup, 
My eyes on the table until I wake up. 
As sleep dims my vision, I say to myself: 
Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf? 
But, though nations are warring, and Congress is vexed, 
We’ll still stick around to see what happens next! 

How do I know my youth is all spent? 
My get-up-and-go has got up and went! 
But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin 
And think of the places my getup has been! 

When I was young, my slippers were red; 
I could kick up my heels right over my head. 
When I was older my slippers were blue, 
But still I could dance the whole night through. 
Now I am older, my slippers are black. 
I huff to the store and puff my way back. 
But never you laugh; I don’t mind at all: 
I’d rather be huffing than not puff at all! 

How do I know my youth is all spent? 
My get-up-and-go has got up and went! 
But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin 
And think of the places my getup has been! 

I get up each morning and dust off my wits, 
Open the paper, and read the Obits. 
If I’m not there, I know I’m not dead, 
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed! 

How do I know my youth is all spent? 
My get-up-and-go has got up and went! 
But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin 
And think of the places my getup has been! 

Peter "Pete" Seeger (1919 - ) is an American folk singer and songwriter. Well known from radio in the 1940’s, where he performed with Burl Ives, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, he was an early advocate for progressive causes which included racial integration, unionisation, workers’ and equal rights of all persons. As a member of the group The Weavers, there were a string of popular hits but the early 1950’s saw them blacklisted as part of the McCarthy Communist witchhunts. 

Seeger’s popularity was revived in the 1960’s when he led the protest song movement, spearheading support for disarmament, civil rights and environmental causes. Seeger is also known for writing, or co-writing, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, If I Had a Hammer and Turn, Turn, Turn. He has continued performing and taking an active part in causes. 

Film of him performing at his 90th birthday concert can be viewed at: 

On April 26, 2012, tens of thousands of Norwegians gathered in a show of unity at a rally in Oslo to sing Pete Seeger's song "My Rainbow Race" which mass murderer Anders Breivik had ridiculed as an example of "Marxist" brainwashing. The song, which Seeger wrote in 1971 to protest the war in Vietnam, has long been a popular children's song in Norway. Culture ministers from Sweden, Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Iceland joined in the singing.. From the U.S. Pete Seeger voiced his support of the event. 

Pete Seeger testifies before the HUAC, 1955

Jim Musselman, founder of Appleseed Recordings, producer of Pete Seeger’s records and longtime friend, has commented on Seeger’s appearance before McCarthy’s House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1955: 
“He was one of the few people who invoked the First Amendment in front of the McCarthy Committee. Everyone else had said the Fifth Amendment, the right against self-incrimination, and then they were dismissed. What Pete did, and what some other very powerful people who had the guts and the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the committee and say, ‘I’m gonna invoke the First Amendment, the right of freedom of association.’ And I was actually in law school when I read the case of Seeger v. United States, and it really changed my life, because I saw the courage of what he had done and what some other people had done by invoking the First Amendment, saying, ‘We’re all Americans. We can associate with whoever we want to, and it doesn’t matter who we associate with.’ That’s what the founding fathers set up democracy to be. So I just really feel it’s an important part of history that people need to remember.” 
Some of Pete Seeger’s responses to HUAC questioning: 
“I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.” 
"I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis, or yours, Mr. Scherer, that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir."
“I feel these questions are improper, sir, and I feel they are immoral to ask any American this kind of question.” 
“I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody.” 
“I am proud that I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I have never refused to sing for anybody because I disagreed with their political opinion, and I am proud of the fact that my songs seem to cut across and find perhaps a unifying thing, basic humanity..” 
“I am saying voluntarily that I have sung for almost every religious group in the country, from Jewish and Catholic, and Presbyterian and Holy Rollers and Revival Churches, and I do this voluntarily. I have sung for many, many different groups-and it is hard for perhaps one person to believe, I was looking back over the twenty years or so that I have sung around these forty-eight states, that I have sung in so many different places.” 
“I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.” 
Pete Seeger was sentenced to a year in jail for contempt of Congress but appealed his case successfully after a fight that lasted until 1962. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Funny Friday: Thanksgiving

Byter Leo suggested yesterday that Thanksgiving Day would be an appropriate subject for an item in Bytes, hence it is the subject of today’s Funny Friday. 

By way of background, from Wikipedia:
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens", to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.  
The event that some Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, and was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings"— days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought, though the 1621 events were likely not a religious observation. 

Some Thanksgiving humour: 

And my favourite comment on Thanksgiving by R Cobb, previously discussed at: 

Corn Corner: 

Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? 

A: Pilgrims