Tuesday, July 23, 2024





Monday, December 14, 2015


Shamekh Bluwi

Shamekh Bluwi is an architect, visual artist and fashion illustrator living in Jordan who has become known for his unique paper cutouts. He firstly draws a figure with or without surroundings, then cuts away parts of it. The resultant cutout held up to various backgrounds creates constantly changing images, assisting in design work and giving an idea of what the fashion item might look like in various styles.

Following are some examples of his art. 

One word of caution – I have added my own piece of cutout art, see if you can work out which one it is.

So did you work out which was my one? It's the second last one. Here it is again with a different background . . .


Plus some more . . . 

. . . and some of his fashion illustrations without the cutouts . . .

Monday, July 22, 2024





Douglas Malloch (1877 – 1938) was an American poet and short-story writer known as a "Lumberman's poet". Malloch was born in Muskegon, Michigan which was known as a centre of the lumbering industry. He grew up amidst the forest, logging camps, sawmills and lumber yards and became known for his simple poems which often depict different ways life can be lived and how the most fulfilling lives come to be.

The following narrative poem is almost like a poetic Aesop’s Fable, with themes of love, regret, sorrow, forgiveness and impermanence.

(A Norway is a Norway spruce, a large, fast-growing evergreen coniferous tree growing 35–55 m (115–180 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of 1 to 1.5 m. The species used as the main Christmas tree in several countries around the world.)

The Widow-Maker

    Douglas Malloch

A loose limb hangs upon a pine three log-lengths from the ground,
A norway tumbles with a whine and shakes the woods around.
The loose limb plunges from its place and zigzags down below;
And Jack is lying on his face—there's red upon the snow.

They'll dress him in a cotton shirt, they'll cross his horny hands;
They'll dig a hollow in the dirt within the forest lands;
They'll put him in a wooden box; they'll wonder whence he came,
And build a monument of rocks without a date or name.

"He got a letter, that I know." "I wonder where it is."
"I heard him speak not long ago about a wife of his."
"Employment agent shipped him up he didn't have a cent."
"He was a most peculiar pup." "He was a gloomy gent."

And so they'll talk around the fire a little longer yet;
But even idle tongues will tire, and even men forget.
A season passes, and a year. "Why, yes, now thinkin' back,
A widow-maker hit him here. We used to call him Jack."

And far away, 'mid city streets Jack staggers down no more,
A heart, a woman's, madly beats, each knock upon the door.
She's back with mother in the flat. She thought she wouldn't care.
Why does she always jump like that, each step upon the stair?

"For anger burns so quick a flame the year that you are wed.
I said some things just as they came I never should have said.
It takes a little time, I guess, the married life to live—
To want your way a little less, to suffer and forgive."

They'll dress him in a cotton shirt, they'll cross his horny hands;
They'll dig a hollow in the dirt within the forest lands;
They'll put him in a wooden box; they'll wonder whence he came,
And build a monument of rocks without a date or name.

Sunday, July 21, 2024





Aesop's Fables, or the Aesopica, is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with his name have descended to modern times through a number of sources and continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic media. The fables originally belonged to the oral tradition and were not collected for some three centuries after Aesop's death. By that time a variety of other stories, jokes and proverbs were being ascribed to him.


The Ant and the Chrysalis


‘chrysalis’ –

A pupa is the life stage of insects that undergo a complete metamorphous from embryo, larva, pupa to imago or adult. Beetles, flies, ants, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, fleas and caddisflies are the most well-known insects that undergo this change.

Most are just called pupa but butterfly pupas are called chrysalis.

A cocoon is made out of silk that a moth caterpillar spins around itself then pupates inside.


The tale:

An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change. The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive. 

“Poor, pitiable animal!” cried the Ant disdainfully. “What a sad fate is yours! While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail.” 

The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply. 

A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained. Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly. 

“Behold in me,” said the Butterfly, “your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen.” 

So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.


Appearances are deceptive.

Before giving advice to others know all the facts.





Often, in Bytes as in life, one thing leads to another.

I started this post with an anecdote about a dog peeing on a bomb and continued the chain of topics and references to arrive at a cat and boots.

Blue Cross is a registered animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom, founded in 1897. The charity provides veterinary care, offers expert behavioural help, and finds homes for pets in need. Their pet bereavement service supports those who are struggling to cope with the loss of a much-loved pet.

The charity works closely with a number of other organisations to help animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

Medals have been awarded by Blue Cross to animals and people who have demonstrated bravery or heroism. While the first medals were awarded to people who helped to rescue animals, medals are now awarded as well to animals, first awarded in 1918 to honour a number of horses which had served in the First World War.


Juliana (died 1946) was a medal-winning Great Dane. She was awarded two Blue Cross medals, the first for extinguishing an incendiary bomb and the second for alerting her masters to a fire that had started in their shop. In September 2013 the second of these medals, along with a portrait of Juliana, sold at auction for £1,100. The discovery and sale of these items uncovered the story of Juliana's heroic acts.

She was awarded her first Blue Cross medal for her actions in respect of an incendiary bomb which had fallen through the roof of a house in April 1941 during the Blitz, the house being where Juliana and her owners lived. Juliana stood over the bomb and urinated on it, extinguishing the fire and preventing it from spreading.


The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom, in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War.

'Blitz' is an abbreviation of the German word ‘blitzkrieg’, meaning ‘lightning war’. The term ‘Blitz’ was first used by the British press.

The Luftwaffe’s almost continual aerial bombardment of the British Isles from September 1940 to May 1941resulted in heavy civilian losses. The Blitz made the home front the battlefront and it was not until the autumn of 1942 that the death toll of British soldiers exceeded the death toll of civilians.

In the eight months of attacks, some 43,000 civilians were killed. This amounted to nearly half of Britain’s total civilian deaths for the whole war. One of every six Londoners was made homeless at some point during the Blitz, and at least 1.1 million houses and flats were damaged or destroyed.

A milkman delivering milk in a London street devastated during a German bombing raid. Firemen are dampening down the ruins behind him.

Blitzkrieg, meaning ‘lightning war in German, is a term used to describe a method of offensive warfare designed to strike a swift, focused blow at an enemy using mobile, maneuverable forces, including armored tanks and air support. Such an attack ideally leads to a quick victory, limiting the loss of soldiers and artillery.

Most famously, blitzkrieg describes the successful tactics used by Nazi Germany in the early years of World War II, as German forces swept through Poland, Norway, Belgium, Holland and France with astonishing speed and force.

Though Germany’s quick victories in 1939 and 1940 remain the most famous examples of blitzkrieg, military historians have pointed to later blitzkrieg-inspired operations, including the combined air and ground attacks by Israel against Arab forces in Syria and Egypt during the Six-Day War in 1967, and the Allied invasion of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War.

Winston Churchill visits bomb-damaged Birmingham, England, during the Blitz.

The number of reindeer characters, and the names given to them (if any) vary in different versions, but those frequently cited in the United States and Canada are the eight listed in Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, the work that is largely responsible for the reindeer becoming popularly known. In the original poem, the names of the reindeer are given as Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem.

The names Dunder and Blixem derive from Dutch words for thunder and lightning, respectively. The German spellings "Donner" and "Blitzen" are now used and help it to rhyme with "Vixen".

The modern German spelling of "Donner" came into use only in the early 20th century, well after Moore's death.

The eight reindeer, as they appeared in a handwritten manuscript of A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore from the 1860s.

The first reference to Santa's sleigh being pulled by a reindeer appears in "Old Santeclaus with Much Delight", an 1821 illustrated children's poem published in New York. The names of the author and the illustrator are not known. The poem, with eight colored lithographic illustrations, was published by William B. Gilley as a small paperback book entitled The Children's Friend: A New-Year's Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve. The illustration to the first verse features a sleigh with a sign saying "REWARDS" being pulled by an unnamed single reindeer.

Illustration to the first verse of "Old Santeclaus with Much Delight", 1821

The popularity of Robert L. May's 1939 storybook Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Gene Autry's 1949 Christmas song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", resulted in Rudolph often being included as the ninth character.

Gene Autry's recording of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts the week of Christmas 1949.

The song had been suggested as a "B" side for a record Autry was making. He first rejected it, but his wife convinced him to use it. The success of the Christmas song gave support to Autry's subsequent popular Easter song, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail".


Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (1907 – 1998), nicknamed the Singing Cowboy, was an American actor, musician, singer, composer, rodeo performer, and baseball team owner, who largely gained fame by singing in a crooning style on radio, in films, and on television for more than three decades, beginning in the early 1930s. During that time, he personified the straight-shooting hero — honest, brave, and true.

Publicity photo of Gene Autry for his appearance at a banquet to announce a contest for the Seattle Packing Company-Bar-S brand.

Apart from being one of the most important pioneering figures in the history of country music, along with Jimmie Rodgers, he is also still remembered for his association with Christmas music, having debuted not only "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" but also "Frosty the Snowman", and "Here Comes Santa Claus".

Autry served in the U. S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Part of his military service included his broadcast of a radio show for one year; it involved music and true stories. Several decades ago on an early afternoon show featuring Republic westerns, one of Gene's sidekicks said that when Gene told Republic Pictures of his intentions to join the military during World War II, Republic threatened to promote Roy Rogers as "King of the Cowboys" in Gene's absence, which it did. Republic reissued old Autry westerns during the war years, to keep his name before the public.


Roy Rogers bought himself a pair of custom made, hand tooled, ornate boots.

That night, as he was drifting off to sleep, a cat outside his window began to yowl loudly. As much as he tried, Roy couldn’t get to sleep, so he threw one of his boots at it. The cat kept mewling and Roy threw the other boot.

The next morning, Roy went outside to retrieve his new boots and was dismayed to discover that the cat had clawed, eaten and generally made a total mess of both.

An angry Roy put an ad in Variety offering a reward to whoever could deliver him the offending cat.

The following morning the doorbell rang and Bing Crosby stood there, holding a cat by the scruff of its neck. 

Bing sang “Pardon me Roy, is this the cat that chewed your new shoes?”