Saturday, January 31, 2015

Quote for the Day: Annie Dillard

I read about an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, 'If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?' 'No,' said the priest, 'not if you did not know.' 'Then why,' asked the Eskimo earnestly, 'did you tell me?'

- Annie Dillard (1945 - )
American author, best known for her narrative prose in both fiction and non-fiction. She has published works of poetry, essays, prose, and literary criticism, as well as two novels and one memoir.

Pulitzer and World Press Photographs of the Year: 1976

Caution: Disturbing images

The Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year continued:

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Between 1942 and 1967 a Pulitzer Prize for Photography was awarded for photojournalism, that is, for photographs telling a news story. In 1968 that award was replaced by awards in two new categories:

· the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography (photography in the nature of breaking news, as it has been called since 2000); and

· the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography (human interest and matters associated with new items).

From 1955 World Press Photo has awarded prizes for the best photographs in 10 categories, with an overall award for the image that "... is not only the photojournalistic encapsulation of the year, but represents an issue, situation or event of great journalistic importance, and does so in a way that demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity".

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Award: Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography, 1976

Photographer: Stanley Forman (1945 - ), Boston Herald American

Photograph: Sequence of Photographs ‘Fire Escape Collapse’

The above photograph and the series from which it comes was the winner of the World Press Photograph of the Year in 1975 and has already been the subject of a Bytes post at:

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Award: Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography

Photographer: Photographic staff of the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times, "for a comprehensive pictorial report on busing in Louisville's schools."

Photograph: "a comprehensive pictorial report on busing in Louisville's schools."


In 1954 the US Supreme Court, in Brown v Board of Education, had declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Not all States embraced a new spirit of integration, strong opposition remaining in the South and other areas. The impact of the ruling was limited because whites and blacks tended to live in all-white or all-black communities. 

In 1971 the Supreme Court ruled in another landmark decision, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, that federal courts could include busing as a desegregation tool to achieve racial balance. This was not just integration being left to voluntary adoption, it was forced integration, beginning with children and young people. Busing, also known as desegration busing, was the practice of white students being forced to attend all-black schools and black students being forced to attend all-white schools. That was also not universally embraced.

In Louisville, Kentucky, many residents opposed busing and considered it abhorrent. Groups such as Concerned Parents Against Busing mounted campaigns against the practice but the yellow buses rolled anyway, carrying black kids, white kids and State police. 577 buses transported 90,000 children the first day, notwithstanding a 40% absenteeism of white children.

Protest escalated into violence in Louisville. Two days of anti-busing fever saw businesses vandalised and properties destroyed by fire. When the smoke and tear gas cleared, 100 people had been injured and 200 arrested. All the while the yellow buses kept rolling.

The staff of the Louisville Courier-Journal took 70 photographs of the busing conflict in 1975 and garnered a 1976 Pulitzer for Feature Photography.

The above photograph, one of that series, shows 8 year old Mark Stewart (seated) shaking hands with Darrel Hughes, also 8, on their first day of class for the new school year at Greenwood Elementary. It is significant that there are no other children shown. They were the only 2 attendees, other children having been held back by their parents by way of a boycott or because buses were sometimes late as a result of initial difficulties.

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Award: World Press Photograph of the Year, 1976

Photographer: Francoise Demulder (1947-2008)

Photograph: Civil War in Lebanon


The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 130,000 to 250,000 civilian fatalities. Approximately one million people (one third of the
population) were wounded, half of whom were left with lifetime disabilities.

Fran├žoise Demulder captured this award winning photograph in January of 1976. It shows a group of Palestinian refugees fleeing Beirut, with Palestinian woman pleading with a masked, armed Phalangist. The photo symbolises the horrors of the wars that afflicted Lebanon for 15 years. 

Francoise Demulder was one of a talented cohort of French female war photographers who first made their mark in Vietnam. She was the first woman to win the coveted World Press Photo of the Year award.

Fifi, as Demulder was known, died at 61 in 2008 after being paralysed from the waist down for most of the decade because of a surgical error. That infirmity was borne with stoicism and humour.

Originally a student of philosophy, then a model, she took to photography when visiting Vietnam with her boyfriend. Using friends in the military for tipoffs and transport, she made a living as a war photographer by being in the right spot at the right time, usually getting there by helicopter or motorbike.

Of her winning photograph, she has said that caused her professional grief: "From then on it was no longer good Christians and wicked Palestinians, and the Phalangists never forgave me." But it led to an enduring friendship with the Palestine Liberation Organisation leader, Yasser Arafat. The photo was plastered on the walls of Beirut not under Phalangist control.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Quote for the Day: Secondhand Lions

" Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honour, courage and virtue mean everything; that power and money ... money and power mean nothing. That good always triumphs over evil. And I want you to remember this.... that love....true love never dies! Remember that boy ... remember that. Doesn't matter if it is true or not, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in...... got that? "

- Robert Duvall as Hub McCann, Secondhand Lions

Funny Friday

Today's theme: Buddhists

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MGMT isn't actually an acronym, it's the word 'management' condensed to four letters.

It took me a while to discover that BDSM has surprisingly little to do with Buddhism.

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A Buddhist pays for his hot dog with a large note but receives no money back. He asks “Where’s my change?”, to which the vendor replies “Change must come from within.”

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There's a bloke in Hungary who goes round from door to door trying to convert people to Zen philosophy.

He's a Buddha pest.

(You may think this should be the Corn Corner item but trust me, the Corn Corner one is even cornier).

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After a 15 day trek through Tibet, I finally arrived at my destination.

I approached the orange robed Buddhist monk on the front gate to make sure.

"Excuse me brother", I said, "I have travelled many miles. Can you tell me, is this the Buddhist Temple of the Forgotten Vow of Silence?".

He replied, "It is weary traveller. Come in and......oh, for fucks sake!"

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Did you hear about the Buddhist monk who refused Novocain?

He wanted to transcend dental medication.

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Corn Corner:

A monk was driving in India when suddenly a dog crosses the road. The car hit and killed the dog. The monk looked around and, seeing a temple, went to knock on the door. A monk opened the door. The first monk said: "I'm terribly sorry, but my karma ran over your dogma."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quote for the Day: Shakespeare

"When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions."

- William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quote fopr the Day: Stephen Covey

“What comes first, the compass or the clock? Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass). Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what’s urgent, learn to focus on what is really important.”

- Stephen Covey

PM Abbott and Duke Philip

News report:

Tony Abbott is standing by his decision to make the Queen's husband an Australian knight and dismissed social media ridicule as lacking in credibility. The Prime Minister announced on Monday that the Queen had accepted his recommendation that the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston be awarded Australia's highest honour as Knights of the Order of Australia.

“. . . the monarchy has been an important part of Australia's life since 1788, and Prince Philip has been a great servant of Australia, he's been a great servant of all the countries of the Commonwealth. Here in this country, he's the patron of hundreds of organisations. He's the inspiration and wellspring of the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards which have provided leadership training for tens, if not, hundreds of thousands of Australians.'


As an indication of the character of the man who has just been named a Knight of the Order of Australia, I reprint the following post from Bytes from a number of years ago:

. . . a reminiscence by Gareth Evans, former Attorney General and Foreign Minister, of his meeting with Prince Philip, quoted in Barry Cohen’s book Whitlam to Winston:

Gareth Evans remembers well the moment he cast off any lingering doubts he had about the monarchy and became a confirmed republican. It was December 1985 and Her Majesty was at Yarralumla with her consort to sign into law the Australia Act, the legislation that allowed Australia to finally sever all those remaining linkages with the United Kingdom that we were constitutionally capable of severing, short of a referendum.

It was, he recalls, a great occasion.
The entire Ministry gathered in a semicicrcle as the Queen and Prince Philip came around, shook our hands one by one and engaged in a little conversation with each of us. 
After I had a polite but brief exchange with Her Majesty, she settled into a rather more prolonged discussion with Senator Susan Ryan, standing beside me, leaving me face to face with Prince Philip with a conversation gap to fill. My gambit wasn’t, on reflection, the most adventurous or stylish but I still think it was serviceable enough for the occasion. 
My opening line – ‘This is really a marvellous occasion and it’s wonderful that you are here for it’ – did not evince any discernible reaction at all. So I plunged on with something like this: ‘I feel particularly pleased personally that this has come to fruition. When I was Attorney-General I spent a fair bit of time rushing backwards and forwards to Whitehall, the Parliament and in fact the Palace as well, putting all this together, and it’s great that we’ve now made it.’ 
Prince Philip paused, looked at me and uttered just two words in reply: ‘Big deal.’

Bonus item:

"You don't get good decisions from government if all the decisions are simply made by one person. No one, however smart, however well educated, however experienced, is the suppository of all wisdom."

- Tony Abbot, when launching the campaign of Liberal candidate for Deakine, Michael Sukkar, 12.08.2013

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quote for the Day: Oscar Levant

"Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember."

- Oscar Levant (1906-1972),
American pianist, composer, author, comedian and actor who was also known for his neuroses and hypochondria.

Oscar Levant (right) and Robert Alda (father of Alan Alda, Hawkeye in M*A*S*H) in Rhapsody in Blue. Alda had the lead role in the film, portraying George Gershwin.

Some street art and graffiti