Tuesday, May 17, 2022





The ugly stick:

According to the Urban Dictionary, the ugly stick is a stick that has the magical property of turning anyone touched with it, ugly. A beating from the ugly stick will have a much more severe effect than just a casual touch.

Sample expression:

He’s so ugly, he’s been hit by the ugly stick too many times.


The Ugly Tree:

Ugly sticks are rumoured to come from ugly trees, which in turn can be found clumped together in ugly forests.

Sample expressions:

Bloody hell, she fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

She must have come out of the ugly forest to get here and hit every tree on the way out.


The word “ugly” comes from the Scandanavian Old Norse “uglike” in the 13th century where it had meanings of frightful or horrible in appearance, giving rise to “uggligr “ meaning dreadful, fearful," and “uggr” meaning fear, apprehension and dread. The meaning of very unpleasant to look at dates from the late 14th century.

The expression “ugly duckling” is from the story by Hans Christian Andersen, first translated from Danish to English in 1846.

The term “Ugly American”, meaning a US citizen who behaves offensively abroad, was first recorded 1958 as a book title.


I have been unable to determine the origin or the first usage of the expressions ugly stick and ugly tree.


Wikipedia records that ugly stick is also a traditional Newfoundland musical instrument fashioned out of household and tool shed items, typically a mop handle with bottle caps, tin cans, small bells and other noise makers. The instrument is played with a drum stick or notched stick and has a distinctive sound. The ugly stick likely only became familiar to Newfoundland and Labrador audiences in the early 1980s.

An example of the Newfoundland ugly stick.

If that looks and sounds similar, think Australian lagerphone, where it is so named fore the beer bottle caps fixed to the broom handle, used by Australian folk groups:

There are even similar aboriginal instruments made using shells instead of bottle caps.

The ugly stick musical instrument name is not related to the other expressions.


A story about an ugly tree in a forest:

Once, a big forest had many trees. There were trees like the fir, pine and several others.

They were all happy as Christmas was near. But there was also a crooked tree in the forest.

He was ugly and had grown very old. The other trees did not like him. They made fun of him and said, “You spoil the beauty of the entire forest.

All the other trees are lovely but you are extremely ugly.”

The crooked tree felt hurt, but did not say anything.

One day, the Queen sent her men in the forest to gather wood to make furniture for the palace.

The men cut all the trees for wood.

When they came to the crooked tree, they thought, ‘This tree is not good for furniture. Let us leave it.”

The crooked tree was relieved.

He thanked God for his ugly looks as it saved his life!


Monday, May 16, 2022


Ugly is a word that should only be used to describe sin and never used to describe people.

Ritu Ghatourey

Ritu Ghatourey is an Indian author best known for her quotes.



Today marks the beginning of what I have decided will be Ugly Week, as the name implies, a week devoted to various things ugly.

Not to be outdone, here are some ‘Shit Gardens Australia’ from Landscape Australia . . . 


Sunday, May 15, 2022






Sadhu Indians are religious ascetics holy persons in Hinduism and Jainism who have renounced the worldly life. They are sometimes alternatively referred to as yogi and sannyasi.  A Sadhu's life is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. 

Amar Bharati is a Sadhu who for the last 45 years has been holding his hand raised without once putting it down. He chose to become a Sadhu in the 1970s whilst working at an Indian bank, living a modest life with his wife and three children. Following an epiphany out of nowhere which made him choose to leave his family, job, and friends, he decided to dedicate the rest of his life to Shiva, a god from Hinduism. At first, he still felt the temptation to do things that were not permitted as a monk, that is why he needed to do something more drastic to truly consolidate his religious beliefs. 

In 1973 he chose to raise his hand and hold it up for the rest of his life in order to show his faith and appreciation towards Shiva. When asked why he is holding his hand up he always responded that this gesture is to militate against wars and support world peace as well as being a way to show his respect towards Shiva.  At first, the pain in his hand was terrible, but the pain never outweighed his dedication. After the first two years, he started losing any sort of sense in his hand and with that also the pain started to go away. 

Bharati is still holding his hand high and he is not planning to put it down any time soon. Even if he was to put his hand down, his muscles are severely atrophied, and most probably lowering his hand would cause permanent nerve damage in the arm, therefore he is better off alone keeping his hand up for the rest of his life, not only due to health reasons but also for spiritual reasons. 



The 1908 Summer Olympics were to have been held in Rome but Italy pulled out after the 1906 eruption of Mt Vesuvius.  Although the cost of reconstruction was blamed, it was also thought that this was a convenient excuse, the Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Gioletti having declared that the Olympic Games were “a complete waste of money”.

With an Anglo-French exhibition being planned for London, it was agreed to incorporate a sports stadium for a cut of the takings.

Unfortunately, things did not run smoothly: 

  • Unlike the 3 previous Olympics, athletes competed as national teams rather than as individuals, so that flags of all the competing nations would be displayed at the stadium. They forgot to fly the Swedish and American flags.  The Swedes stormed out of the stadium in protest.  The Americans refused to dip their flag at the Royal box, a custom surviving to the present on principle of not deferring to a foreign power. The Finns were told to march under the Russian flag but refused and marched flagless.  The Irish, told to march under the Brit flag, refused to march at all. 

  • Every entry in the tennis was British. One of the finalists injured his hand and could not play, his opponent won the gold without hitting a ball. 

  • The motor boating was a washout because of gales. 

  • Only one team, Australia, turned up to contest the rugby gold medal.  Britain’s top rugby players were in Australia on tour. 

  • The swimming events and the fishing competition were held in the same specially-built pool but unfortunately the water was not changed.  The water became so murky that swimmers said that visibility was less than 15 cm (6 inches). 

A judge walked across the athletics field and was speared by a flying javelin. 

  • The American shot putter was accused of deliberately dropping his shot on the foot of his Brit opponent. 

  • As with previous Olympics, the host nation provided the judges.  The Americans complained of bias on the part of the Brit judges, illustrated by Brit middleweight boxer Johnny Douglas getting a split decision from the event referee, Douglas’s father. 

  • In the men’s 400m race, 3 Americans lined up against one Brit.  The Americans were the favourites, having won all the sprints in previous Olympics.  The Brit was blocked by the American trio on the final bend and forced off the track.  Blacking, pushing and jostling was considered fair play back then at a time when there were also no marked lanes.  The British judges ordered a re-run but the Americans refused to do so, in protest.  The Brit runner, Wyndham Halswelle, ran the race on his own to win the hold.  The NY Post reported “Our uncousinly competitors have to learn how to win from American athletes, and they still more need to learn how to lose.” 

  • By the way, Halswelle was disgusted by the whole affair and never ran again, being killed by a sniper’s bullet in France in 1915. 

White City Stadium

American team march past

Halswelle wins gold


Quotes by Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite:

My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.

Perhaps my factories will put an end to war sooner than your congresses: on the day that two army corps can mutually annihilate each other in a second, all civilized nations will surely recoil with horror and disband their troops.


Saturday, May 14, 2022






Currans Hill is located 60 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD in the local government area of Camden Council and is part of the Macarthur region.

Name origin:

The suburb was named after Michael Curran who was a resident of Narellan in the 1880s.


Currans Hill is a residential estate consisting mainly of freestanding houses.

The population of the area as at the latest census of 2006 was 4,977 and many of the residents are young families.

European settlement of Currans Hill started with several land grants in 1811, 1816 and 1831.

By the 1880s Currans Hill was a thriving agricultural community. Rail and tramways made the connection and trade of dairy and crops between Sydney and the Camden area possible. The Camden tram, Pansy, was a popular means of transport for the residents of Currans Hill. Pansy's route, which opened in 1882, ran from Camden to Campbelltown with several suburb stops on the way such as Kirkham, Narellan and Currans Hill. The railway line was eventually closed in 1963 by New South Wales Railways.

In 1944 the renowned Australian filmmaker Charles Chauvel transformed rural Currans Hill 'into a makeshift battleground to film 'The Rats of Tobruk' starring Chips Rafferty and Peter Finch. Currans Hill residents assisted in the construction of the sets. The site of the film set was eventually replaced with a drive-in cinema.

In the 1990s Currans Hill was converted from a farm land area to a residential suburb and subdivided into medium-sized residential lots consisting of public and private housing.

Today there is a recreational lake and a number of large reserves connected with cycleways and walking paths. There is a primary school, a community hall and a corner store. A Christian high school and church are also found in the locality.


Pansy, the Camden locomotive

Camden Pansy train at Camden milk depot

Filming The Rats of Tobruk
By the way:

The Rats of Tobruk were soldiers of the Australian-led Allied garrison that held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the Afrika Corps, during the Siege of Tobruk in World War II. The siege started on 11 April 1941 and was relieved on 10 December. The port continued to be held by the Allies until its surrender on 21 June 1942.

The defenders had adopted Tobruk's excellent network of below-ground defensive positions which had been built pre-war by the Italian Army. The propagandist for Germany, William Joyce, better known as "Lord Haw-Haw", began describing the besieged men as living like rats in underground dug-outs and caves. In radio broadcasts, he derisively referred to and addressed the garrison as the "rats of Tobruk". Likewise, the ageing warships that supplied and evacuated Tobruk were also denigrated by German propaganda as "scrap iron". The ships became known affectionately to the garrison as the "Scrap Iron Flotilla" and the "Tobruk ferry service".

Australians reclaimed the name as a badge of pride, even going so far as to strike their own unofficial medal bearing the likeness of a rat. The metal used to make the medals came from a German bomber that the Rats had shot down with captured German guns.

An image from the film

Film poster

Film poster

A patrol from the 2/13th Infantry Battalion at Tobruk

Rats of Tobruk unofficial medal, 1941, made by the Rats themselves.