Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Miscellany: A Collection of Odds, Ends and Personals


Each year for the last 20 years or so I have made my own card for Christmas. My daughter, Acacia, who lives in Dubai, until recently was the art director for Cosmopolitan Middle East and prior to that of Cosmopolitan Australia, now art director for the mag Stylist Middle East, thought that they could be vastly improved upon. She designed a couple and, I must admit, hers were better. 

Here is a repost of a pic of Acacia (left) with friends Sophie and Giovanni when they spent tiome with her recently in Dubai:


Acacia is a very talented graphic designer. If there was a competition for graphic designers as there is for tattooists, Inkmaster, she would be Designmaster. 

Each year Acacia and I disagree on what the card should be. She thinks my ideas are geeky, like those of the guys in Big Bang Theory. Next year we will do one of my geeky ideas. This year Acacia created a card that is delight:


Well done, daughter.

From Byter Sue B:

'Bytes' have been of wonderful interest this year, funny fridays, hilarious, not able to decide on a favourite 'Bytes', always so different & interesting. 
Thank you for all the time, luv & interesting topics you put out ...where would we be without our 'Bytes'?

Thanks Sue, trying to keep Bytes different aand interesting is not always easy.


From Byter Charlie Z:

Otto 
I have just returned from a wander around Circular Quay, where I saw a Rail Emergency vehicle stopped outside the station. I noted with interest that it had a Seal on the rear doors with a coat of arms and the slogan "Semper Paratus" under the insignia. 
I went to the driver's cab and asked the driver about the slogan, saying that it was also the motto of the United States Coast Guard, which is the military unit in which I served many years ago. The driver was unaware of the origin of the motto, but volunteered that he believed it was also owned and used by the Girl Guides in Australia! 
Apropos of nothing, except that when I see anomalies, coincidences or absurdities I think of you and the Daily Bytes, I wondered if you had any knowledge of the origins of these things, whether they are copyrightable, and why Latin is used so often. You probably know that "Semper Paratus" means "Always Ready", and another military arm of the USA, the Marines, uses "Semper Fidelis" or "Always Faithful'.
Happy Holidays and please continue Byting! 
Charlie Z

Thanks Charlie

Some comments:

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From Wikipedia:

RailCorp maintains a statewide Emergency Response Unit. The function of this unit is to attend incidents, such as derailments. Formerly known as the State Rail Fire Service, the unit is based in Sydney and respond to emergency incidents involving the rail network including automatic fire alarms within the underground and nearby stations. The unit also undertakes cross-training with Fire and Rescue NSWThe unit is currently equipped with a number of vehicles including Mercedes and International pumpers and a specialist rapid rail response unit which is able to travel via the road and rail network for rescue operations. The unit's motto is Semper Paratus, translated from Latin to mean Always Ready.

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Girl Guide Brownies used to have a motto, Lend a Hand, but this was dropped in 1996.  Some countries retain it.

Girl Guides have a Guide promise and Guide Law, which was reviiewed in 2011. That resulted in the oaths to God and the Queen being replaced by "true to myself and develop my beliefs" and "serving our community and Australia."

The chap you spoke to, Charlie, may have been thinking of the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared".  


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Although most sources say that it is obscure as to the Coast Guard's adoption of the motto Semper Paratus, a 2006 article by William Wells 11, SEMPER PARATUS: The Meaning sheds light on the origins.

It can be read at: 

Wells writes that in 1836 the New Orleans French language newspaper The Bee congratulated one Captain Ezekiel Jones on his transfer from Revenue Cutter Service schooner Ingham. Shortly before the Ingham had been involved in a battle with the Mexican Navy’s war schooner Montezuma as part of support for Anglo-Texans in their conflict with Mexico. The Bee praised Jones for teaching "a neighboring state a valuable lesson of respect for our flag, and raised the confidence of our citizens abroad in the protection of the government to their lawful enterprise."

The Bee further declared that the Ingham, and thereby also its captain, was “a vessel entitled to bear the best motto for a military public servant--SEMPER PARATUS"

The Army and Navy Chronicle, the favoured military publication of all officers, reprinted the article and Wells believes that the use of the phrase grew from there.

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Semper Paratus is also the name of the marching song of the US Coast Guard.

Hear it at:

It was written by Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerckwrote, who wrote the words in 1922 and the music 5 years later. Van Boskerck received his commission in the Revenue Cutter Service on May 20, 1891. 


The chorus of the marching song Semper Paratus is:

We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be,
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our fame, our glory, too.
To fight to save or fight and die!
Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you.

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Mottos were generally in latin in that the tradition developed from Roman legions each having their own motto printed under their standard, the shield with the eagle above it.  Later Latin was the standardisd written language in Europe.  When the nobility developed coats of arms, they added Latin mottos, as the Romans had done.

There was also a preoccupation in the 19th century with mottos being in Latin in that this apppeared to be more profound and meaningful.

Semper In Excretum Sed Sole Profundum Variat


(Google it)



1 comment:

  1. Many years ago, as a Navy Musician - we often played a snappy medley of the service songs, and since it was usually instrumental (I was a trumpeter) I never had to worry much about knowing the lyrics. Most of the service songs were instantly recognizable of course...but we did often tease the Coast Guard by singing "This is the song that no one knows!" as the opening of the first verse.

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