Tuesday, July 27, 2021

QUOTE FOR THE DAY


 

SOME COMMENTS FROM LOCKDOWN

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As the lockdown continues and we start to suffer more and more from cabin fever, here are some thoughts and comments . . .

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Two grandmothers were bragging about their precious darlings. One of them says to the other, “Mine are so good at social distancing, they won’t even call me!”

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In that the bulk of our office staff are restricted to their respective local government areas, our office is now being conducted remotely. Phones are diverted and we are communicating with each other, and dealing with matters, via email and text messages, more so than by telephone. Signing and witnessing od documents is being done by audio visual means.

Strange days.

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I have rediscovered some of the delights of free to air TV and items on Youtube.

Here are some recommendations:

Great British Car Journeys

Peter Davison and Christopher Timothy, who played Tristan Farnon and James Herriot respectively in the 1978 Brit TV series All Creatures Great and Small, have remained lifelong friends since those days, Forty years later they get together to recreate the 1930s golden age of motoring by travelling roads away from the main roads and motorways in a 1936 Morgan using original maps. Along the way they meet interesting people, rc[;pre fascinating locations and discuss various matters of history.

Well worth looking at, especially if you love a bit of Brit whimsy. Find it on Youtube, also called Vintage Roads


All Creatures Great and Small

Quality TV programming remains watchable over the years, as much as the Marx Brothers films are still great today. So it is with All Creatures Great and Small. Another very watchable series of the life of a veterinary practice in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s, Aye, there be naught like ut on television, I tell thee,

Look it up on Youtube, Season 1 and various later episodes. The 1978 version is best but the 2020 remake is also worth a look.


Hairy Bikers

It is exactly what the names says, two hairy bikers who travel the British Isles discovering recipes and foods whilst cooking their own dishes and presenting information. By the way, the 2 bikers, Si King and Dave Myers have been cooking as a duo for over 20 years but are not a couple, You could do worse than watch their 6 part series from 2019 when they travelled the length of Route 66, much like Billy Connolly did on his hog but this time from a culinary perspective. Entertaining.

Look up the episodes on Youtube.


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The enforced stay at home has resulted in 7mate, 7two and 7flix having become my favourite free to air stations, much to the annoyance of Kate, who does not share my tastes . . .
American Pickers
Canadian Pickers
Aussie Pickers
Storage Wars
Pawn Stars
Hardcore Pawn
Swamp People
Aircraft Investigation
Crash Investigation

Some others . . .
Mystery Diners
Australian Survivor

I can see Steve M rolling his eyes and face palming.

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Some recommended movies we have watched:

The Trial of the Chicago 7
A 2020 American historical legal drama film which follows the Chicago Seven, a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Hard to believe that this happened in relatively recent times, great cast.


The Beautiful Fantastic
A 2016 Brit film about a young woman with obsessive–compulsive disorder who works in a public library and is trying to write a children’s book. Her fear of plants causes her to neglect the garden of her rented house causing her landlord gives her one month in which to improve the garden, or face eviction. As the story progresses, she develops relationships with her curmudgeonly next-door-neighbour, his doctor, her cook/housekeeper, and a male inventor who frequents the library. Good film.


Greenfingers
A 2000 British comedy film loosely based on the true story about the award-winning prisoners of HMP Leyhill, a minimum-security prison in the Cotswolds, England, a story published in The New York Times in 1998. Charming and moving little film.


The Dig
A 2021 British drama film based on the 2007 novel of the same name by John Preston, which reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo. In the late 1930s, wealthy landowner Edith Pretty hires amateur archaeologist Basil Brown to investigate the mounds on her property in England. He and his team discover a ship from the Dark Ages while digging up a burial ground. Ultimately, the amateurs end up in conflict with the bureaucracies but succeed in revising Brit history.


Monday, July 26, 2021

QUOTE FOR THE DAY

 


THE TOKYO OLYMPICS - FACTS AND TRIVIA


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There are over two dozen distinct competitions in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. These include traditional Olympic swimming, soccer, gymnastics, boxing, and cycling competitions, as well as newer sports that are of keen interest to younger viewers -- such as beach volleyball.

The 2021 Tokyo Games will also see karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding make their Olympic debuts, and the return of baseball and softball (which were removed from the summer program after 2008).

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The Tokyo Olympic mascots are Miraitowa (left), the Olympic mascot, and Someity (right), the Paralympic mascot.

The Olympic mascot is called Miraitowa, based on the Japanese words "Mirai"(future) and "towa" (eternity) to symbolize the undaunted optimism of the Olympic games.

The Paralympic mascot is named Someity, based on "Someiyoshino", a popular cherry blossom variety, and the phrase "so mighty". Someity has cherry blossom tactile sensors, and can show enormous mental and physical strength. The mascot represents Paralympic athletes who sometimes overcome enormous obstacles to redefine the boundaries of the possible.

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The new National Stadium, Tokyo in which the opening and closing ceremonies will take place.

It is a scaled down design after spiralling costs had forced the scrapping pf the original futuristic design nu architect Zahan Hadid:


The stadium features wood on both the exterior and interior. As an ode to Japan, the wood is sourced from all of Japan's 47 prefectures. The architect has described the structure as a 'living tree', built in a way to maximise the breeze flowing through the stadium in order to rely less on air conditioning.


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2020 Summer Olympics logo and poster and 2020 Summer Paralympics logo and poster

According to the organisers:
Chequered patterns have been popular in countries around the world throughout history. "In Japan, the chequered pattern was known as “ichimatsu moyo” in the Edo period (1603-1867), and this chequered design in the traditional Japanese colour of indigo blue expresses a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.

Composed of three varieties of rectangular shapes, the design represents different countries, cultures and ways of thinking. It incorporates the message of 'Unity in Diversity'. It also expresses the fact that the Olympic and Paralympic Games seek to promote diversity as a platform to connect the world.
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A new Olympic motto was announced by the IOC President Thomas Bach in the hope of better reflecting a pandemic stricken world.

The International Olympic Committee decided upon the change with the new motto being, "Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together." The specific motto for the Tokyo games remains unchanged, "United by Emotion." It is the first time the motto has changed since the inception of the modern Olympics back in 1894.

President Bach said the words take on a special meaning as the commitment to the games is an "act of faith in the future," as the world begins to exit the pandemic. Bach stressed the importance of solidarity within the Olympic Movement and beyond, “We want to put a strong focus on solidarity. That’s what the word ‘together’ means - solidarity.” The IOC followed this by stressing the potential the Olympics has to unite the world with sport, especially important in a time of great global turmoil.

The Olympic motto prior was the first three words, "Citius, Altius, Fortius" - Latin that translate to "Faster, Higher, Stronger". It was chosen by the French aristocrat Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and birthed the modern Olympic games. The new Latin will now say, “Citius, Altius, Fortius - Communiter.”


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Having once hosted the Summer games in 1964, this is the second time that Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics.

By the way, in searching for universally understood visual languages, pictograms (ekotoba, in Japanese, a word used prior to the design of pictograms) were for the first time designed for, and used during, the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Pictograms used for sports in the 1964 Olympics

There were also 39 general information service pictograms

Pictograms were first employed at the 1948 London Olympics as illustrations for some of the sports. Pictographic gestures were made at the 1936 Berlin games, though their mark on international memory has been permitted to fade because of their association with Third Reich ideology.

The 1964 pictograms were refined and simplified for the 1972 Munich Games and are the ones used today.

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The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo marked the very first Games held in Asia.

It was followed by the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

The Tokyo 2020 Games will be the fourth Olympics held in Japan – this makes Tokyo the only Asian city to host the Summer Games twice.

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Tokyo was supposed to host the 1940 Olympic Games

Poster for the 1940 games, when the games were scheduled to be held in Tokyo

The 1940 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XII Olympiad, were originally scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan.


The Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937. Amid the intensification of the war, the feasibility of both the Summer Olympics and the 1940 Winter Olympics grew increasingly questionable to other countries, who suggested a different site be chosen and spoke of the possibility of boycotting the Games were they to proceed in Japan. Many Japanese Diet members had already questioned hosting the Olympics in wartime, and the military was demanding that the organizers build the venues from wood because they needed metals for the war front, In 1938 Japan withdrew from hosting the 1940 Games.

The Games were rescheduled for Helsinki, Finland, the backup nation, but were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II.

Helsinki and Tokyo eventually hosted the 1952 and 1964 Summer Olympics respectively.

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The Tokyo 2020 Games is focused on sustainability and to promote sustainability,  are repurposing a number of the venues used in the 1964 Games. Moreover, items such as podiums, uniforms and medals are all made from recycled materials. Even the beds at the Olympic Village are made from cardboard, which will be recycled after the Games.


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The gold, silver, and bronze medals at the Tokyo Olympics are part of a unique program in that the metals used to make the medals will be extracted from the inner workings of recycled home electronics. Called the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, it has collected nearly 79,000 tons of outdated consumer electronics over the course of two years. The discarded devices were donated by Japanese corporations, local authorities, and private citizens, who offered up their old mobile phones, digital cameras, and laptops in yellow donation boxes placed all around the country. Every medal presented at the Games will be moulded using the 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver, and 2,200kg that were extracted from the electronics. All in all, the program raked in more than $3 million worth of precious metal from more than five million devices.

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The design of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals reflects the concept that, to achieve glory, athletes have to strive for victory on a daily basis. The medals resemble rough stones that have been polished and now shine, with “light” and “brilliance” their overall themes. The medals collect and reflect myriad patterns of light, symbolising the energy of the athletes and those who support them. Their design is intended to symbolise diversity and represent a world where people who compete in sports and work hard are honoured. The brilliance of the medals signifies the warm glow of friendship symbolising people all over the world holding hands.

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The torch used for the Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay was designed to resemble cherry blossoms – a renowned symbol of Japan. The relay began in March this year to coincide with the cherry blossom season.


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A giant white structure reminiscent of Mount Fuji unfolded during the opening ceremony of the 2021 Games to reveal a flower-like Olympic Cauldron, which was ignited by Japanese tennis icon Naomi Osaka.


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As part of the opening ceremony for the 2021 Games, 1,820 synchronised drones formed a revolving globe over the stadium, to a cover version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” (which included an appearance from Australia’s Keith Urban, for some reason).

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Following the performance, Yoko Ono, co-writer with John Lennon of “Imagine”, took to Twitter to react and share her thoughts on what ‘Imagine’ embodied to her and Lennon:
John and I were both artists and we were living together, so we inspired each other. The song ‘Imagine’ embodied what we believed together at the time. John and I met – he comes from the West and I come from the East – and still we are together.

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Tokyo 2020, in collaboration with the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, will rank as nearest there's ever been to a robotic Olympics. Humanoid robots will be deployed to assist and interact with spectators with small car-like robots fetching sporting equipment such as hammers and javelin, flung during the athletic field events at the new Olympic stadium, speeding up the events by reducing the time taken to retrieve the items.

Life-size humanoid robot, T-HR3 mirrors the movements of their human “handlers” who control it. It is able to high-five athletes and even hold a conversation.


The Delivery Support Robot, which was designed to deliver food and drinks to spectators in 500 wheelchair-accessible seating. Its partner, the app-commanded Human Support Robot, was also designed to guide guests requiring mobility assistance to their seats. Although it will now not be used at the Olympic Games, it could still be used at the Tokyo Paralympics, which start on 24 August.


The Field Event Support robots, which will follow operations staff and autonomously navigate to collect javelins and shot puts during track and field events. Officials say the aim is to reduce the time taken to collect the items and speed up competition.

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Such a shame that a country that has put so much effort, time and money into producing a memorable and remarkable games has been so hard hit by the effects of the pandemic,

The Tokyo Olympics gets the . . . 












Sunday, July 25, 2021

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 


SYDNEY - THEN AND NOW

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Bathing boxes at Coogee Beach c1880-1890.
Bathing boxes like these at Coogee Beach c1880-1890 
were designed to allow sea bathing 
while protecting the swimmer’s modesty.

From the Dictionary of Sydney:

By the late 19th century, Sydneysiders were increasingly turning to our coastal areas to cool down during the warmer months. While Manly offered sea-bathing in its harbour baths, the pools in Coogee, Bronte and Bondi beaches offered the safest sea-bathing option. In those days, few people wore bathing costumes and there was fierce debate about what constituted appropriate swimwear in the first place.

In order to safeguard the respectability of sea-bathers, councils provided gender-segregated sea baths which screened bathers from view during daylight hours. By 1886, Coogee Beach had a women’s only pool, today the only surviving single sex pool in the country. It also had a men’s only pool on the other side of the beach. Waverley Council decided to allocate separate hours for men’s bathing and women’s bathing at their supervised pay-to-use ocean pools at Bondi and Bronte beaches, and it required all bathers wear costumes.

But on 20 October 1907, Waverley, Manly and Randwick councils faced criticism when thousands of men dressed in ladies clothing gathered at Bondi, Manly and Coogee beaches. They were protesting against the councils’ proposal requiring men to wear a skirt-like tunic when swimming at all times. Newspapers called it ‘Burlesque at Bondi’, as ‘bathers in arms’ and ‘skirt brigades’ commandeered garments belonging to their sisters and wives, and made a mockery of the proposed dress code. In the end, the ‘salt water kilt’ was not enforced on the city’s bathers!

Men’s swimming clubs sprung up in the 1890s and Bondi and Bronte hosted swimming carnivals which included diving events and water polo matches. These events nurtured the development of the lifesaving movement, with Bronte and Bondi beaches both hosting Australia’s earliest lifesaving clubs.

From the early 1900s councils permitted daylight bathing in public view, provided swimmers wore approved costumes. This did not lessen the demand for ocean pools; as a safer swimming environment, it still appealed to beachgoers. Wylie’s Baths at Coogee Beach was its third pool, and opened in 1907 as a gender-segregated, pay-to-swim pool. While sunbathing in public view remained prohibited, the bath’s change sheds offered a venue for sunbathing. Gradually, Wylie’s Baths became one of the first ocean pools to offer mixed or family bathing.

From 1907, formally organised surf lifesaving clubs begun patrolling Sydney’s most popular surf beaches in daylight hours. But as they were operated by volunteers, their patrols were limited to weekends and public holidays, which meant ocean pools continued to provide beachgoers with the best protection against sharks and rips.

The popularity of ocean pools extended throughout the early 20th century, but from the 1970s, the pollution of Sydney’s eastern beaches by sewage and industrial waste decreased the support for the further development of these pools. Yet despite this, the demand for ocean pools remained quite high due to enthusiasm for fitness swimming and winter swimming clubs. Today, Sydney’s ocean pools remain a popular spot not only for swimmers, but for photographers, drawn by the prospect of that perfect sunrise capture.
Some pics, then:

Manly Baths, 1890

Manly Harbour Pool, 1930s

Coogee Beach with bathing floats, 1880-1890

Bondi Beach, 1889-1894

Manly Beach, 1900-1910

Bondi Beach, 1900

Bronte Baths, 1880-1890

Coogee Beach, c 1928

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visit a surf carnival held in their honour qat Bondi Beach, 1954 tour of Australia.

The Hereward, wrecked in the breakers of Maroubra Beach, 1898

Vast rolling sandhills up to 20 metres high once dominated the landscape around Bondi. Drifting sand covered roads and buildings, prompting the government in the early 1900s to try to combat the sand with fences, barriers and planting.

Shark Tower, Manly Beach, from 1939 onwards.

Some pics, now:

Clovelly Beach

Maroubra Beach

Bronte Beach

Coogee Beach

Manly Beach