Tuesday, January 31, 2017
There have been famous walls throughout history, designed to keep people in, or keep people out, or both: the walls of Jericho, the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, the Berlin Wall, Israel’s West Bank Wall . . .
One of the early poems of Robert Frost (1874-1963) is called “Mending Wall” and was published in 1914.
The narrator of the poem describes how each year in Spring he and his neighbor meet to walk the wall separating their properties to inspect and make repairs. The speaker sees no reason for a wall when there is no stock to be confined, when there are only apple and pine trees, but his neighbour simply replies “Good fences make good neighbors”.
Some interesting images and themes:
- Each Spring they repair the wall from damage caused by hunters and nature. The wall keeps falling, they keep putting the rocks back, much like Sisyphus, the mythological figure who was condemned to push a boulder to the top of a high hill, only to have it roll down each time he gets it to the top, and force him to do it all again.
- The speaker envisages two types of people: wall builders and wall breakers, those who want walls and the barriers they create and those who feel that such barriers should be assessed in terms of need: “… I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out, / And to whom I was like to give offense.”
- Yet it is the speaker who initiates the contact each Spring, acknowledging that the speaker may well feel that the wall makes good neighbors.
- On a broader symbolic level, the wall represents order out of chaos, boundaries, orderliness.
Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Monday, January 30, 2017
“This is an adult person and a person who has spent many years organising beauty contests. He spent time with the most beautiful women in the world. I find it hard to imagine that he ran to a hotel to meet with our girls ‘of low social responsibility’. They are without question the best in the world but I doubt Trump took the bait.”
- Russian President Vladimir Putin brags that Russian prostitutes are “the best in the world” but said that he doubted that Donald Trump had succumbed to their temptations by engaging in a 2013 hotel sex party.
The quote is from a news item dated 17 January but I missed seeing it at the time.
How does he know?
Will President Trump now defend American sex workers and dispute the claim?
Friday, January 27, 2017
Good morning readers. Friday again so time for a bit of humour.
In recognition of yesterday having been Oz Day, albeit controversially with violence from the "Invasion Day" opponents at the march in Sydney , today's items are on an Australian theme.
A Kiwi and an Aussie went fishing one afternoon and decided to have a couple of cold beers. After a while the Aussie says to the Kiwi, "If I was to sneak over to your house and made wild passionate love to your wife while you were at work, and she got pregnant and had a baby, would that make us related?" The Kiwi after a great deal of thought, says, "Well, I don't know about related, but it sure would make us even."
Aussie anger management:
When you occasionally have a really bad day, and you just need to take it out on someone, don't take it out on someone you know, take it out on someone you don't know.
I was sitting at my desk when I remembered a phone call I'd forgotten to make. I found the number and dialed it. A man answered, saying "Hello." I politely said, "This is Chris. Could I please speak with Robyn Carter?"
Suddenly a manic voice yelled out in my ear "Get the right fuckin' number!" and the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn't believe that anyone could be so rude. When I tracked down Robyn's correct number to call her, I found that I had accidentally transposed the last two digits.
After hanging up with her, I decided to call the 'wrong' number again.
When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled "You're an arsehole!" and hung up.
I wrote his number down with the word 'arsehole' next to it, and put it in my desk drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I'd call him up and yell, "You're an arsehole!" It always cheered me up.
When Caller ID was introduced, I thought my therapeutic 'arsehole' calling would have to stop.
So, I called his number and said, "Hi, this is John Smith from Telstra. I'm calling to see if you're familiar with our Caller ID Program?"
He yelled "NO!" and slammed down the phone.
I quickly called him back and said, "That's because you're an ARSEHOLE!"
One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking spot.
Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I'd been waiting for that spot, but the idiot ignored me. I noticed a "For Sale" sign in his back window, so I wrote down his number.
A couple of days later, right after calling the first arsehole (I had his number on speed dial,) I thought that I'd better call the BMW arsehole, too.
I said, "Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?"
"Yes, it is", he said. "Can you tell me where I can see it?" I asked.
"Yes, I live at 34 Mowbray Boulevarde in Vaucluse. It's a yellow house and the car's parked right out in front."
"What's your name?" I asked.
"My name is Don Hansen," he said.
"When's a good time to catch you, Don?"
"I'm home every evening after five."
"Listen, Don, can I tell you something?"
"Don, you're an arsehole!" Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too.
Now, when I had a problem, I had two arseholes to call. Then I came up with an idea. I called Arsehole #1.
"You're an arsehole!" (But I didn't hang up.)
"Are you still there?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said.
"Stop calling me," he screamed.
"Make me," I said.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"My name is Don Hansen."
"Yeah? Where do you live?"
"Arsehole, I live at 34 Mowbray Boulevarde, Vaucluse, a yellow house, with my black Beamer parked in front."
He said, "I'm coming over right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers."
I said, "Yeah, like I'm really scared, arsehole," and hung up.
Then I called Arsehole #2. "Hello?" he said.
"Hello, arsehole," I said.
He yelled, "If I ever find out who you are..."
"You'll what?" I said.
"I'll kick your arse," he exclaimed.
I answered, "Well, arsehole, here's your chance. I'm coming over right now."
Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived at 34 Mowbray Boulevarde, Vaucluse, and that I was on my way over there to kill my gay lover. Then I called Channel 9 News about the gang war going down in Mowbray Boulevarde, Vaucluse.
I quickly got into my car and headed over to Mowbray. I got there just in time to watch two arseholes beating the crap out of each other in front of six cop cars, an overhead police helicopter and a news crew.
NOW I feel much better. Anger management really works.
An Australian man and his wife were sitting in the living room and he said to her, "Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."
His wife got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all of his beer.
An Englishman, a Scotsman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Latvian, a Turk, a German, an Indian, several Americans (including a southerner, a New Englander, and a Californian), an Argentinian, a Dane, an Australian, a Slovakian, an Egyptian, a Japanese, a Moroccan, a Frenchman, a New Zealander, a Spaniard, a Russian, a Guatemalan, a Colombian, a Pakistani, a Malaysian, a Croatian, a Uzbek, a Cypriot, a Pole, a Lithuanian, a Chinese, a Sri Lankan, a Lebanese, a Cayman Islander, a Ugandan, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Uraguayan, a Czech, an Icelander, a Mexican, a Finn, a Honduran, a Panamanian, an Andorran, an Israeli, a Venezuelan, a Fijian, a Peruvian, an Estonian, a Brazilian, a Portuguese, a Liechtensteiner, a Mongolian, a Hungarian, a Canadian, a Moldovan, a Haitian, a Norfolk Islander, a Macedonian, a Bolivian, a Cook Islander, a Tajikistani, a Samoan, an Armenian, a Aruban, an Albanian, a Greenlander, a Micronesian, a Virgin Islander, a Georgian, a Bahamanian, a Belarusian, a Cuban, a Tongan, a Cambodian, a Qatari, an Azerbaijani, a Romanian, a Chilean, a Kyrgyzstani, a Jamaican, a Filipino, a Ukrainian, a Dutchman, a Taiwanese, an Ecuadorian, a Costa Rican, a Swede, a Bulgarian, a Serb, a Swiss, a Greek, a Belgian, a Singaporean, an Italian, a Norwegian and and an African walk into a restaurant.
“I’m sorry,” said the maître d’, “but you can’t come in here without a Thai.”
Ricky decides to go back home to Melbourne so he calls Qantas Airlines to book his flight.
The operator asks him, 'How many people are flying with you?'
Ricky replies, 'Strewth mate, how would I know. It's your plane.'
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Thanks to Graham at Triv for pointing out that double demerit points are now in force in NSW for the offences of speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt and riding without a motorcycle helmet. The period will conclude at 11.59pm, Sunday (29 January 2017.
Also, school zones with reduced speed limits of 40kph are in force again from this coming Friday.
Today is Australia Day.
Some trivia . . .
Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia. It is celebrated annually on the day on which it falls, 26 January, so there is no extra day off if the day falls on a weekend. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.
The loss of the Thirteen Colonies in North America had prompted England to send 11 ships under Captain Arthur Phillip to Australia, to establish a penal colony. It arrived in Botany Bay between 18 and 20 January 1788, that location having been explored and claimed by James Cook for England in 1770, but it was unsuitable for a settlement. On 21 January, Phillip and a few officers travelled to Port Jackson, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) to the north, to see if it would be a better location for a settlement. They stayed there until 23 January; Phillip named the site of their landing Sydney Cove, after the Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney. They also made contact with the local Aboriginal people.They returned to Botany Bay on the evening of 23 January, when Phillip gave orders to move the fleet to Sydney Cove the next morning, 24 January. A huge gale prevented the proposed move.
On 25 January the gale was still blowing; the fleet tried to leave Botany Bay, but only HMS Supply made it out, carrying Arthur Phillip, Philip Gidley King, some marines and about 40 convicts; they anchored in Sydney Cove in the afternoon. On 26 January, early in the morning, Phillip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III. The remainder of the ship's company and the convicts watched from on board Supply. Despite mishaps including collisions, all the remaining ships finally managed to clear Botany Bay and sail to Sydney Cove on 26 January. The last ship anchored there at about 3 pm.
The formal establishment of the Colony of New South Wales did not occur on 26 January as is commonly assumed. It did not occur until 7 February 1788, when the formal proclamation of the colony and of Arthur Phillip's governorship were read out. The vesting of all land in the reigning monarch King George III also dates from 7 February 1788.
Captain Arthur Phillip
King George 111
The First Fleet consisted of two naval escorts, three supply ships and six transport ships. The First Fleet carried more than 1300 people made up of 569 male convicts, 191 female convicts, marines and their wives and children and government officials.
HMS Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet. It was wrecked on a reef at Norfolk Island in 1790.
As the convicts who had settled the 'new colony' were not proficient in farming and the government food stocks began to run low, the British Home Secretary, Evan Nepean, decided as well as food the colony needed women and children, to prosper. Female criminals, prostitutes, destitutes were gathered from London and surrounds and were shipped off on the Lady Juliana to help stabilise the new colony.
The Lady Juliana began its ten month journey, to Australia, in July 1789. During the course of the journey the women cohabited with crew members and entertained men at every port of call. The ship became known as "The Floating Brothel" and was not received with 'open arms' when it arrived in Sydney Cove. However three weeks later, when the four supply ships arrived, Sydney Cove took a turn for the better. Many of these women were in a good financial position when they arrived in Sydney, in June 1790.
A Sydney sculpture known as "The Bonds of Friendship" commemorates the First Fleet.
It is a companion piece to one erected at Portsmouth Harbour, England.
The Bonds of Friendship sculpture was originally erected outside Customs House, Circular Quay but now resides in the Jesse Street Gardens, just near Macquarie Place, Sydney.
Symbolically, the chain extends from Portsmouth to Sydney over the route travelled by the First Fleet. The last two links of the chain form the memorial and cement the bonds of friendship between Britain and Australia represented by Portsmouth and Sydney. The surfaces of the sculptures are also rich in symbolism; the Portsmouth one has a dull painted surface to denote the ‘old country’ and the links of the chain in Sydney are highly polished brass to represent the ‘new country’.
Speaking of the bonds of friendship, some Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians, regard Australia Day as a symbol of the adverse impacts of British settlement on Australia's Indigenous peoples.
The celebrations in 1938 were accompanied by an Aboriginal Day of Mourning.
A large gathering of Aboriginal people in Sydney in 1988 led an "Invasion Day" commemoration marking the loss of Indigenous culture and some Indigenous figures and others continue to label Australia Day as "Invasion Day", with protests occurring almost every year, sometimes at Australia Day events.
Some indigenous organisations have suggested that the day be referred to as Survival Day, rather than Invasion Day, to acknowledge the survival of indigenous culture.
In 2014 retailers Aldi and Big W sparked controversy when they advertised Australia Day t-shirts bearing the slogan "Australia: Established 1788". After an outcry that the t-shirts were racist and offensive, the companies withdrew them from sale.
The cottage in Melbourne of the parents of Captain Cook regularly gets targeted for protest graffiti about Australia Day.
The cottage was purchased in England and transported to Melbourne, where it was rebuilt brick by brick.
Although it is not known whether Cook lived in the cottage, he certainly visited his parents there.
When Cook explored Botany Bay in 1770, his party shot an indigenous male for throwing stones at them, thereby setting the tenor of relations for the next 247 years.