Monday, September 4, 2017

Readers Write

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From David B of Derbyshire, England, in respect of the pics and background on watchmen:
They still set the watch every night in the town of Ripon in North Yorkshire. It's a major tourist attraction. 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/content/articles/2008/07/10/ripon_hornblower_history_feature.shtml
Thanks, David.


In the year 886, King Alfred the Great ranted a Royal Charter to Ripon for settlement and presented a horn with the advice to the local citizens to “be more vigilant”. This was a time of Viking raids so that the advice was quite practical. 

From that day on the watch was set each night and the watchmen were instead known as Wakemen. 

While the city slept a Wakeman patrolled the streets during the hours of darkness. He signalled the start of his duty by blowing the horn in the Market Place.

Today a different horn is used and the position is symbolic, but it continues a tradition that has been carried out daily without fail since 886. The current wakeman is George Pickle. At 9.00pm he goes to the obelisk in the town square and blows his horn four times, once from each side of the obelisk, signifying that he is on duty. Not surprisingly, the Wakeman is also known as the hornblower. It is part of the later tradition that after setting the watch he must track down the mayor of the day, sound the horn three times in front of him, raise his hat, bow his head and say the words “Mr Mayor, the watch is set.”
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Also from David B in response to the old joke about the Buddhist asking the hot dog vendor to “Make me one with everything”:
After the Buddhist had received his hot dog with everything he proffered a twenty dollar note and stood waiting patiently. "Whatcher waiitin’ fer?" asked the vendor". "My change," said the Buddhist. "Doncha know that change comes from within?"
Thanks, David.

It brings to mind an item from 2011 when the Dalai Lama was touring Oz. The DL granted interviews to reporters in one on one appointments and, when it was the turn of Today host Karl Stefanovic, Karl decided to tell the DL a joke. Notwithstanding that there were so many things he could have said to, or asked, the spiritual leader, he said to the DL “So the Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop.” The DL’s interpreter dutifully translated this, leaving the DL quite confused.  He remains polite and keeps the interview going by saying “Pizza? Ah pizza.” 

Karl continues “'And he says, ‘Can you make me one with everything?’ “

As the Dalai Lama looks blankly at him - trying his best to understand what the morning show anchor is telling him - Mr Stefanovic repeats the punchline using hand gestures only to be met with more blank stares. 

After a long and uncomfortable silence, Karl starts hysterically laughing and put his heads in his hands and says: “Oh, I knew it wouldn't work.”

He later tweeted: 'OK worst gag of the year with best guest short list. Even I am cringing.'

It made headlines all over the world at Stefanovic’s expense. Cringeworthy.

See it at:


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From Wayne B on the quote and brief bio on Oz pollie Arthur Calwell:
Liked the whole byte but especially the Calwell history that includes political history and earlier political doctrine. Keep more coming to show our past to appreciate our future and not repeat the mistakes of the past. 
Wayne B
Thanks Wayne, will do.

Some more Arthur Calwell anecdotes:

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In July 1963, Australian Labor Party leader Arthur Calwell arrived at the White House for a meeting with US president John F. Kennedy. Calwell cherished his American heritage. His grandfather, Davis Calwell, was born in Pennsylvania and migrated to Australia in 1853. He could name every US president and often quoted Abraham Lincoln.

When they sat down together in the Oval Office and exchanged books they had written, Calwell said to Kennedy: "As my family were leaving America to come to Australia, your family were arriving in America from Ireland." Kennedy replied, "I hope it wasn't cause and effect."

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Calwell (1896-1973) was firm friends with his opponent, Robert Menzies (1894-1976), the founder of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister 1939-1941 and 1949-1966. Not only were they friends, Menzies also had a respect for Calwell that lasted to Calwell’s death in 1973. Menzies attended Calwell's funeral but became so overwhelmed by grief after arriving at the cathedral that he was unable to compose himself and leave his car.
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By the way, a short story about Robert Menzies:

At a noisy meeting of coalminers in Wonthaggi Hall, someone from the front row yelled out "Tell us all you know, Bob - it won't take long!"

Menzies looked at the man and said “I will tell you everything we both know - it won't take any longer."


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