Monday, December 31, 2018

Quote for the Year

Auld Lang Syne

From the archives - a repost from Bytes 2010:

As you see in the new year, joining crossed arms in a circle, you will no doubt either sing or hear Auld Lang Syne. It’s the traditional music for the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

Some info and trivia: 

  • It is a Scottish poem written by Robbie Burns (above) in 1788 and put to the melody of an old Scottish folk round. 
  • The poems's Scots title may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for the sake of old time".
  • It has been commented that this is the most popular song that no one knows the lyrics to. 
  • The phrase “auld lang syne” was in use in the Scottish language well before the writing of this poem. It has been used by other authors, including the commencement of Scots fairy tales with the words “In the days of auld lang syne…” meaning “Once upon a time…” 
  • Part of the poem was collected by Burns and part written by him, he adding two verses. Burns sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Historical Museum with the omment “The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man."
  • Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (and other Britons) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them. 
  • Bandleader Guy Lombardo played the song at midnight in 1929 at a New Year’s Eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. He had heard it sung by Scottish immigrants in London, Ontario, his hometown. After the 1929 performance it became a tradition for him to play it at New Year’s Eve every year, from where it was later broadcast on radio and then on television. This became so much a tradition that Life magazine commented that the American public would not believe that the new year had arrived unless they heard Guy Lombardo playing Auld Lang Syne. 

  • Glenn Miller and Guy Lombardo recorded the versions heard in films such as When Harry Met Sally and It's A Wonderful Life. 

  • In the movie When Harry Met Sally, just seconds after he successfully declares his love for Sally (Meg Ryan) at a New Year's Eve party, Harry (Billy Crystal), goes on a rant about this this song, saying: "My whole life, I don't know what this song means. It means 'Should old acquaintance be forgot.' Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances or does it mean that if we should happen to forget them, we should remember them which is not possible because we already forgot?"  Sally then replies: "Well maybe it just means that maybe we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it's about old friends."

Some celebrity versions of Auld Lang Syne: 

Susan Boyle: 

Rod Stewart: 

Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin: 

Red Hot Chilli Peppers: 

Al Jolson: 

Mariah Carey: 

The lyrics and the meanings: 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
Will old friends and times be forgotten? 
And auld lang syne. 
And times gone by? 


For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
For times gone by 
We'll take a cup of kindness yet, 
We promise to remember those of the past with fondness 
For auld lang syne! 
For those times gone by. 

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, 
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup 
And surely I'll be mine, 
And surely I’ll buy mine 
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet, 
We promise to remember those of the past with fondness 
For auld lang syne! 
For those times gone by. 

We twa hae run about the braes, 
We two have run about the hills 
And pou'd the gowans fine, 
And pulled up the daisies 
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit, 
But we’ve wondered many a weary way 
Sin auld lang syne. 
Since the days gone by. 

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, 
We two have paddled in the stream 
Frae morning sun till dine, 
From morning to dusk 
But seas between us braid hae roar'd 
But big seas have roared between us 
Sin auld lang syne. 
Since the days gone by. 

And there's a hand my trusty fiere, 
Here’s my hand my trusty friend 
And gie's a hand o thine, 
And let me have yours. 
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught, 
There is always time for old friends to get together, if 
not in person then in memory 
For auld lang syne. 
For days gone by.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Thought for the Day

Those We Lost in 2018, continued


Dear Readers:

We lost so many in 2018 that I will not be able to conclude this continuing post in what remains of 2018 unless I severely cuirtail the information about those persons, or I cull the names.  I have chosen instead to continue the post into 2019.

Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) – 

American singer, songwriter, civil rights activist, actress, and pianist. 

Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was minister. At the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career recording for Columbia Records. However, she achieved only modest success. She found acclaim and commercial success after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966. Hit songs such as "Respect", "Chain of Fools", "Think", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", and "I Say a Little Prayer", propelled her past her musical peers. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as "The Queen of Soul". 

Franklin recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top-ten pop singles, 100 R&BFranklin received numerous honors throughout her career, including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the first female performer to be inducted, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. entries, and 20 number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in history. 

Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, aged 76. The cause of death was pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET). 

According to TMZ, Aretha Franklin’s estate reportedly owes $6.3 million in unpaid taxes and $1.5 million in penalties attributed to the late legendary singer from 2012 to 2018. The huge tax bill comes from several audits over the past six years. But an attorney for the Franklin estate says the estate has already paid the IRS at least $3 million in back taxes. 


Bill Clinton spoke at her funeral: 
Former President Bill Clinton spoke of the last time he saw the singer, who sang at his 1993 inauguration. It was the very last public signing performance Franklin gave at Elton John's AIDS benefit in New York last November at Harlem's Cathedral of St. John's the Divine.

"Because Aretha's the talent so I showed up a little early. I was like a grade school kid. She heard I was there and summoned me to the back," began Clinton.

"And she's sitting there, obviously desperately ill, gaunt. She stood right up and said, 'How are you doing, baby?' I said, 'I'm doing better now.' And she said, 'Well look at me. I finally got thin again.'“

And then she went out into this setting and in front of all these people who loved her…She sang not one song, not two songs, not three songs, she had them bring a chair out. She sang for 45 straight minutes.”

Matt “Guitar” Murphy (December 29, 1929 – June 15, 2018) - 

American blues guitarist. 

Murphy was associated with Memphis Slim, The Blues Brothers and Howlin' Wolf. Those who love the Blues Bros films will remember the number he did with Arethra Franklin in the first film, “Think”. 

He died at the age of 88, no cause of death was provided. In 2002, Murphy suffered a stroke that forced the guitarist into semi-retirement. 

Adrian Cronauer (September 8, 1938 – July 18, 2018) – 

United States Air Force Airman 1st Class and radio personality whose experiences as an innovative disc jockey on American Forces Network during the Vietnam War inspired the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam. 

He died at home aged 79. 

Cronauer said he loved the movie, but he said much of the film was Hollywood make-believe. Robin Williams’s portrayal of a fast-talking, nonconformist, yuk-it-up disc jockey sometimes gave people the wrong impression of the man who inspired the film.  
“Yes, I did try to make it sound more like a stateside station,” he told the Associated Press in 1989. “Yes, I did have problems with news censorship. Yes, I was in a restaurant shortly before the Viet Cong hit it. And yes, I did start each program by yelling, ‘Good Morning, Vietnam!”’  
The rest is what he delicately called “good script crafting”. 

Tab Hunter (July 11, 1931 – July 8, 2018) – 

American actor, singer, film producer and author. 

Hunter appeared in over forty films and was a well-known Hollywood star and heartthrob of the 1950s and 1960s, known for his blond, clean-cut good looks. 

Three days before his 87th birthday, Hunter passed away. He suffered a cardiac arrest arising from complications related to deep vein thrombosis. 

Although Hunter was often photographed on dates with well known and sexy movie stars such as Natalie Wood (see pic above), the stories and the dates were fabricated. Hunter hid his homosexuality and his relationship with actor Anthony Perkins. JJ Abrams is reportedly making a movie about the pair's relationship.

Joe Jackson (July 26, 1928 – June 27, 2018) – 

American talent manager and patriarch of the Jackson family of entertainers that includes his children Michael and Janet. 

Jackson was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2014. 

From an article by Alexis Petridis in The Guardian, in reporting on the death of Joe Jackson:
At the risk of damning a dead man with faint praise, perhaps the best thing you can say about Joe Jackson is that he may not unequivocally be the most tyrannical and monstrous father in pop history. There are other contenders for the title, not least the appalling Murry Wilson, father of the Beach Boys’ Brian, Dennis and Carl, a man whose idea of disciplining his children involved yanking out his glass eye and forcing them to stare into the empty socket and who, in a final act of belittlement stemming from his insane conviction that he was the only real talent in the family, signed away the Beach Boys’ songwriting catalogue in 1969 for $700,000, costing them somewhere in the region of $100m in royalties. An early 1990s court case alleged that Brian Wilson’s signature on the sale documents had been forged.

Even against such stiff competition, Joe Jackson has a shot at the title. A former boxer and failed blues musician, his main skill appeared to be devising innovative ways to make his children’s lives miserable. He constantly added new chapters to a catalogue of physical and mental abuse, that, when it finally came to light in the 1980s, seemed to provide the answer to a number of questions about his son Michael. Once you knew what Michael Jackson’s childhood and early career had been like, the issue wasn’t so much why he was apparently turning so weird but why it hadn’t happened sooner.

Anthony Michael Bourdain (June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018) – 

American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality. 

Bourdain starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition. He was considered one of the most influential chefs in the world. 

Though best known for his culinary achievements and television presentations, along with several books on food and cooking and travel adventures, Bourdain also wrote both fiction and historical nonfiction. On June 8, 2018, Bourdain committed suicide by hanging while on location in France for Parts Unknown. 

Some of the weirdest delicacies Bourdain has ever consumed include: "Balut" (developing feathered bird embryo boiled and eaten straight from the shell); "Raw Seal Eyeball" (sampled while eating with Inuits in Canada); "Roasted Sheep's Testicles" (consumed in a Moroccan desert); "Bull's Penis & Testicles"; "Hákarl" (heavily ammoniated fermented shark dish); "Cobra Heart" (sliced out of a live snake and eaten while still beating); "Maggot Fried Rice" (self-explanatory); "Warthog Anus" (the worst meal of his life, consumed with a tribe in Namibia), etc.

Katherine Noel Valentine Brosnahan (December 24, 1962 – June 5, 2018), known professionally as Kate Spade and Kate Valentine – 

American fashion designer and businesswoman. 

Spade was the founder and former co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade New York. That doesn’t mean anything to me, I wouldn’t know a Louis Vuitton from a Kate Spade from a Coles enviro-bag, but I imagine my daughter does. 

After working in the accessories department at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle, Brosnahan and her husband, Andy Spade, identified a market for quality stylish handbags, and founded Kate Spade New York in 1993. The handbags Spade designed and produced quickly found popularity, owing to their sophistication and affordability, and have been described as a symbol of New York City in the 1990s. 

The company expanded into other product lines. In 1999, Spade sold a 56-percent stake in her business to Neiman Marcus Group, and in 2006 sold the rest of her shares. In 2016, Spade and her partners launched a new fashion brand, Frances Valentine. 

On June 5, 2018, Spade was found dead in her apartment, her death being ruled a suicide. 

The news of Kate Spade unexpected death rocked the fashion world and celebrities alike, but according to her sister, Reta Saffo, it wasn't quite as unexpected.  
In an e-mail sent from her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Saffo told the Kansas City Star that the famous designer suffered from a debilitating mental illness for the last three or four years and was self-medicating with alcohol. According to Saffo, her family tried to help Spade, but she was resistant because she was concerned with how it would affect her "happy-go-lucky" brand.

Gerard Marenghi (January 24, 1920 – May 24, 2018), known as Jerry Maren – 
American actor. 

Maren played a Munchkin in the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, The Wizard of Oz. 

He became the last surviving Munchkin following the death of Ruth Duccini on January 16, 2014, and was also the last surviving cast member with a speaking or singing role. 

He was eighteen/nineteen years old when he shot his scenes for The Wizard of Oz in the latter part of 1938 and early 1939. At that time he stood just three feet six inches (107 cm). 

Hormone treatments would allow Maren to grow to a height of four feet six inches (137 cm) later in life. 

Maren died aged 98, the cause pof death not having been disclosed. 

Philip Milton Roth (March 19, 1933 – May 22, 2018) – 

American novelist and short-story writer. 

Roth's fiction, regularly set in his birthplace of Newark, New Jersey, is known for its intensely autobiographical character, for philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction, for its "sensual, ingenious style" and for its provocative explorations of American identity. 

Roth first gained attention with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, for which he received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. He became one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. His books twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters, Nathan Zuckerman, a character in many of Roth's novels. The Human Stain (2000), another Zuckerman novel, was awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year. In 2001, in Prague, Roth received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize. 

The publication in 1969 of his fourth and most controversial novel, Portnoy's Complaint, gave Roth widespread commercial and critical success, causing his profile to rise significantly. 

Roth died at a Manhattan hospital of congestive heart failure on May 22, 2018, at the age of 85. 

A reprint from a 2012 Bytes:

Last weekend my wife, Kate, was suffering the effects of the latest bug that has been going around. All of us in the family have had it and, in some cases, re-had it. I suggested that she take some of the Codral I had left but she declined, saying “I tried it once and it gave me palpitations.”

Kate’s comment brought to mind Alexander Portnoy’s mother, Sophie, in Philip Roth’s novel Portnoy’s Complaint.

In the interest of domestic harmony I will draw no further comparisons between Kate and Sophie Portnoy and will simply present the extract . . .
Even in the Chinese restaurant, where the Lord has lifted the ban on pork dishes for the obedient children of Israel, the eating of lobster Cantonese is considered by God (Whose mouthpiece on earth, in matters pertaining to food, is my Mom) to be totally out of the question. Why we can eat pig on Pell Street and not at home is because . . . frankly I still haven't got the whole thing figured out, but at the time I believe it has largely to do with the fact that the elderly man who owns the place, and whom amongst ourselves we call Shmendrick, isn't somebody whose opinion of us we have cause to worry about. Yes, the only people in the world whom it seems to me the Jews are not afraid of are the Chinese. Because, one, the way they speak English makes my father sound like Lord Chesterfield; two, the insides of their heads are just so much fried rice anyway; and three, to them we are not Jews but white-and maybe even Anglo-Saxon. Imagine! No wonder the waiters can't intimidate us. To them we're just some big-nosed variety of WASP! Boy, do we eat! Suddenly even the pig is no threat-though, to be sure, it comes to us so chopped and shredded, and is then set afloat on our plates in such oceans of soy sauce, as to bear no resemblance at all to a pork chop, or a hambone, or, most disgusting of all, a sausage (ucchh! ). .. But why then can't we eat a lobster, too, disguised as something else? Allow my mother a logical explanation. The syllogism, Doctor, as used by Sophie Portnoy. Ready? Why we can't eat lobster. Because it can kill you! Because I ate it once, and I nearly died!

- Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Thought for the Day

Those We Lost in 2018 continued


Penny Marshall (October 15, 1943 – December 17, 2018) – 
American actress, director and producer. 
Marshall came to notice in the 1970s for her role as Laverne DeFazio on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley (1976–1983), receiving three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for her portrayal. 
She made her directorial debut with Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986) before directing Big (1988), which became the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million at the U.S. box office. Her subsequent directing credits included Awakenings (1990), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, A League of Their Own (1992), Renaissance Man (1994), The Preacher's Wife (1996) and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). She also produced Cinderella Man (2005) and Bewitched (2005), and directed episodes of the TV series According to Jim and United States of Tara. 
Marshall died in Los Angeles from complications of diabetes on December 17, 2018, at the age of 75. 

Marshall’s brother Garry was a film director, producer, screenwriter and actor, best known for creating Happy Days and its various spin-offs, developing Neil Simon's 1965 play The Odd Couple for television, and directing Pretty Woman, Beaches, Runaway Bride, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, The Princess Diaries, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. When he needed females to play "fast girls" who were friends of Arthur Fonzarelli and would date Fonzie and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days, he cast his sister Penny as Laverne and Henry Winkler’s friend and ex-girlfriend Cindy Williams as Shirley. Audiences liked them so much that a spin-off was created for them. 

George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018) [ 
American politician, 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. 
Prior to assuming the presidency, Bush served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. As a member of the Republican Party, he had previously been a congressman, ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence. 
Bush postponed his university studies after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday, and became one of its youngest aviators. He served until September 1945, and then attended Yale University, graduating in 1948. 
He moved his family to West Texas where he entered the oil business and became a millionaire by the age of 40 in 1964. 
Bush suffered from vascular parkinsonism, a form of Parkinson's disease which had forced him to use a motorized scooter or wheelchair since at least 2012.[ He died on November 30, 2018, aged 94, at his home in Houston. 

Bernardo Bertolucci (16 March 1941 – 26 November 2018) – 
Italian director and screenwriter.
His films include The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, The Last Emperor (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), The Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha, Stealing Beauty and The Dreamers. 
In recognition of his work, he was presented with the inaugural Honorary Palme d'Or Award at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. 
Bertolucci died in Rome on 26 November 2018, at the age of 77 of lung cancer. 

Stan Lee (December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) – 
American comic book writer, editor, and publisher who was active from the 1940s to the 2010s. 
Lee rose through the ranks of a family-run business to become Marvel Comics' primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics industry. 
In collaboration with others at Marvel he co-created numerous popular fictional characters, including superheroes Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man. In doing so, he pioneered a more naturalistic approach to writing superhero comics in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he challenged the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority, indirectly leading to changes in its policies. 
In the 1980s he pursued development of Marvel properties in other media, with mixed results. Following his retirement from Marvel in the 1990s, he remained a public figurehead for the company, continued independent creative ventures into his 90s, until his death in 2018. 
Lee died at the age of 95 from cardiac arrest with respiratory failure and congestive heart failure as underlying causes. He also suffered aspiration pneumonia. 

After being transferred from the army’s Signal Corps in New Jersey, Lee worked as a playwright in the Training Film Division in Queens with eight other men, including a few who went on to be very famous: Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, cartoonist Charles Addams (creator of The Addams Family), director Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington [1939] and It’s a Wonderful Life [1946]) and Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

Burt Reynolds (February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018) – 
American actor, director and producer. 
Reynolds first rose to prominence starring in television series such as Gunsmoke (1962–1965), Hawk (1966), and Dan August (1970–1971). 
His breakout film role was as Lewis Medlock in Deliverance (1972). Reynolds played the leading role in a number of subsequent box office hits, such as The Longest Yard (1974), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Semi-Tough (1977), Hooper (1978), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982). 
After a number of box office failures, Reynolds returned to television, starring in the sitcom Evening Shade (1990–1994). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Boogie Nights (1997). 
Reynolds died from a heart attack at the Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, on September 6, 2018, at the age of 82 

Reynolds also had a particularly bittersweet anecdote about taking an acting class with Marilyn Monroe as an up-and-comer in the late 1950s. He would walk with her from 58th Street to the Actors Studio, he said, surprised by the blonde icon’s quietude. “She didn’t say much, but she didn’t have to,” he recalled in a March interview with Conan O’Brien. He was also surprised to see that one of the most famous women in the world wasn’t getting swarmed on the street. “How come they don’t jump up and down?” he asked her, referring to the people breezing past her. “She said, ‘Oh—do you wanna see her?” And with that, the actress threw her shoulders back and started strutting with purpose. Within 20 feet, she was “surrounded by about 40 people,” Reynolds said.

Neil Simon (July 4, 1927 – August 26, 2018) – 
American playwright, screenwriter and author. 
Simon wrote more than 30 plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, mostly adaptations of his plays. He received more combined Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer. 
He died at age 91 of complications of pneumonia. He was also reported to have had Alzheimer’s disease. 

When he died in August 2018, it was overshadowed by the deaths of Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain. As a result, many people were unaware of his passing. 

“When it's 100 in New York, it's 72 in Los Angeles. When it's 20 in New York, it's 72 in Los Angeles. However, there are six million interesting people in New York - and 72 in Los Angeles.” – Neil Simon 

John Sidney McCain III (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018) – 
American politician and military officer who served as a United States Senator from Arizona from January 1987 until his death. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama. 
During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. While on a bombing mission during Operation Rolling Thunder over Hanoi in October 1967, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. He experienced episodes of torture and refused an out-of-sequence early release. The wounds that he sustained during the war left him with lifelong physical disabilities. He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics 
He died of cancer aged 81. 

No politician is gotcha-proof, but McCain once looked pretty close to it. Ferguson, a writer for the Weekly Standard, recounts watching McCain answer a question posed by a Comedy Central crew on the 2000 campaign trail about the candidate’s favorite poet. He answered that question fairly easily—Robert Service—and the follow-up, about whether he could recite any of it. He proceeded to recite “The Cremation of Sam McGee”—all 14 stanzas of it. But the kicker came later, when McCain explained to the Comedy Central team exactly how he had come to memorize the poem. “The guy in the cell next to me,” he said, according to Ferguson, “it was his favorite poem. He used to tap it to me on the wall, in Morse Code.”

Kofi Atta Annan (8 April 1938 – 18 August 2018) – 
Ghanaian diplomat. 
Kofi Annan served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. 

When you have been secretary general of the United Nations for 10 years, it's never going to be easy to slip into humdrum anonymity. Kofi Annan gave it a good go. On leaving office he and his wife borrowed a friend's Italian hideaway, deep in the forests near Lake Como, and retreated into eight weeks of blissful solitude. With no TV, no radio, no papers; Annan was free, finally, from the clamour of the world's troubles. Two weeks in, he began to get bored.

"Let's go to the tobacconist in the village," he suggested, "and buy a paper."

They had been in the shop for less than five minutes before his heart sank. A group of men were gathered in the corner, staring. "Oh no!" he whispered to his wife. "We've got six weeks to go, and we've blown our cover. How are we going to manage?" One of the men approached and thrust out a pen and paper. "Morgan Freeman, may I have an autograph?" Annan flashed his best Hollywood smile, scribbled "Morgan Freeman" and fled.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Thought for the Day

Funny Friday


The last Funny Friday of 2018 that will hopefully finish the year with some smiles and laughs . . . 


Warning: the following items contain some risqué content. 

I went to my GP and admitted that I can't have sex any more. Every time I start to get frisky with a girl I suddenly start thinking about turtles or iguanas or lizards or crocodiles or geckos and then I can't get a boner. 

The doc said I've got a reptile dysfunction. 

I've opened a gym, in which the instructors would go from door to door and brag about the various benefits of joining it. 

I've named it 'Jehovah's Fitness'. 

How's my intended New Year’s resolution going so far? 

Well allow me to explain. 

Extra l 
Extra la 
Extra lar 
Extra larg 
Extra large 
Extra large d 
Extra large do 
Extra large don 
Extra large done 
Extra large doner kebab 

My New Year's resolution is to save enough money to buy a Velcro wall. 

And I plan on sticking to it! 

The Finest of Funny Friday . . . 

From the 2012 Archives:

A man left work one Friday afternoon. Being payday, instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend hunting with the boys and spent his entire paycheck. When he finally appeared at home, Sunday night, he was confronted by a very angry wife and was barraged for nearly two hours with a tirade befitting his actions. 

Finally, his wife stopped the nagging and simply said to him, "How would you like it if you didn't see me for two or three days?" 

To which he replied, "That would be fine with me." 

Monday went by and he didn't see his wife. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results. 

Thursday, the swelling went down just enough where he could see her a little out of the corner of his left eye. 
What is the difference between a wife and a girlfriend? 
About 45 pounds. 

What's the difference between a husband and a boyfriend? 
45 minutes. 

While attending a marriage seminar dealing with communication, Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor, "It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other." 

He addressed the man, "Can you describe your wife's favourite flower?" 

Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "It's self-raising, isn't it?" 

The rest of the story gets rather ugly. 
A man is sitting at the bar in his local tavern, furiously imbibing shots of whiskey. One of his friends happens to come into the bar and sees him. 

"Lou," says the shocked friend, "what are you doing? I've known you for over fifteen years, and I've never seen you take a drink before. What's going on?" 

Without even taking his eyes off his newly filled shot glass, the man replies, "My wife just ran off with my best friend." 

He then throws back another shot of whiskey in one gulp. 

"But," says the other man, "I'm your best friend!" 

The man turns to his friend, looks at him through bloodshot eyes, smiles, and then slurs . . .

"Not anymore! ... He is!" 


Courtesy of Vince C, thanks Vince.


Corn Corner: 

Some dyslexic corn to vinish the ear . . .

I asked the dyslexic fortune teller what my destiny was. 
She replied, "It's 1.062 gram per centimeter cube." 

My doctor wrote me a prescription for "dailysex"...
But the wife had to break it to me that it was actually for "dyslexia".

Did you hear about the dyslexic insomniac agnostic? 
He stayed up all night wondering if there really is a dog. 

What does DNA stand for? 
National Dyslexics Association 

Have you heard of the cow who attained spirtual enlightenment? 
She was dyslexic and kept on repeating OOOOMMM! 

Dyslexics of the world: UNTIE!

I came home from work tonight to find a note from my girlfriend which said, "I'm leaving you because you're so stupid and bigoted." 
Well I'm not stupid, I'm just dyslexic. 
And I can't help it if I have big toes. 

Have you heard about the dyslexic devil worshipper who sold his soul to Santa? 

I saw my friend stood outside the Doctor's today. He looked really worried and upset so I asked him, "What's the matter?" 
He replied, "I've got the big C." 
I was shocked. "What, cancer?" I asked. 
"No, dyslexia." 

These jokes are the property of the National Dyslexic Association. 
All rights reversed.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Thought for the Day

Those We Lost in 2018 - Australia


Cornelia Frances Zulver (7 April 1941 – 28 May 2018), credited professionally as Cornelia Frances

English-Australian actress. 

After starting her career in British films, she became best known for her acting career in Australia after emigrating there in 1970, particularly her iconic television soap opera roles with portrayals of nasty characters. Frances was known for her role as Morag Bellingham on Home and Away since its inception in 1988, after leaving that series, she appeared on a semi-regular basis as the storyline permitted, rejoining briefly as a permanent cast member in 2001, before going back to an itinerant basis. She also played nurse Sister Grace Scott on the Nine Network series The Young Doctors (1976–1978), and Barbara Hamilton on Sons and Daughters on Network Seven (1982–1986). She appeared in the film version of regular series TV soap The Box. She also worked briefly on stage and in voice-over. In the early 2000s, she was the hostess of the Australian version of quiz show The Weakest Link. 

Frances died of bladder cancer that had metastasized to her spine, despite having undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Sje was aged 77. 

Ian Kiernan AO (4 October 1940 – 16 October 2018) – 

Australian yachtsman, property developer, builder, and environmental campaigner and conservationist. Kiernan is known for co-founding with Kim McKay the not-for-profit Clean Up Australia campaign in 1989 and, in 1993, a similar Clean Up the World operation, serving as the event's chairman, the annual initiative attracted participation from 30 million volunteers in 80 countries. 

Bill Corey, who died on October 3 2018 aged 101, was one of the last Rats of Tobruk. 

He enlisted in 1940 at the age of 22 and in 1941 took part in the Siege of Tobruk. The Rats of Tobruk is the name given to the soldiers of the garrison that held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the Afrika Corps, during and after the Siege of Tobruk in World War II. The siege started on 10 April 1941 and was relieved at the end of November when Australian forces were withdrawn. The port and its perimeter continued to be held by the Allies until its surrender on 21 June 1942. 

In what proved to be a propaganda mis-step, Lord Haw-Haw derisively referred to the garrison as "poor desert rats of Tobruk" during radio broadcasts. This was probably mostly due to two factors: 
  • The Australians tended to counterattack to gather equipment as soon as the enemy was routed. 
  • The defenders dug extensive tunnel networks and shelters to supplement their trenches—and were not afraid to use them when bombarded. 
The Australians gave themselves the nickname "the Rats of Tobruk" after Radio Berlin described the garrison's defenders as "caught like rats in a trap". 

Quentin Kenihan (27 February 1975 – 6 October 2018) – 

Australian disability advocate, writer and actor. 

Quentin was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare bone disease. 

He was born in Box Hill, Victoria in 1975 and first came to the attention of the public aged seven when he was the feature of a documentary by Australian journalist Mike Willesee. He later was the host of a Ten Network television show Quentin Crashes. In 2016, Kenihan participated in a lengthy television interview with Ray Martin. 

He appeared in the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road in the role of Corpus Colossus (photo above). 

Kenihan died in Adelaide on 6 October 2018. His suspected cause of death was an asthma attack. 

Ron Casey OAM (5 July 1929 – 2 October 2018) – 

Australian television presenter, sports journalist and talk-back radio host. 

Although Casey was a successful sports media figure, he later stirred controversy as an often "politically incorrect" talk-back radio host, famous for his quick temper. He was suspended on several occasions during his career for offensive remarks made on radio. 

In 1991, Casey was involved in a live on-air scuffle with singer and actor Normie Rowe during which Rowe pushed Casey into his chair, and Casey responded by punching Rowe in the face. 

Casey had numerous health problems in his eighties, including a quadruple heart bypass, several strokes and bladder cancer. He died at Royal North Shore Hospital on 2 October 2018 aged 89. 

Robert Frederick Jane (18 December 1929 – 28 September 2018) – 

Australian race car driver and prominent businessman. 

A four-time winner of the Armstrong 500, the race that became the prestigious Bathurst 1000 and a four-time Australian Touring Car Champion, Jane was well known for his chain of tyre retailers, Bob Jane T-Marts. Bob Jane T-Marts is the only major tyre retailer in Australia who do not sell retread tyres. Jane's personal reason for this is that his second eldest daughter Georgina had died in a car accident in 1991 due to a retreaded tyre blowing out. 

Jane was inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame in 2000. 

On 28 September 2018, Jane died from prostate cancer, 21 years after his diagnosis. He was 88. 

Peter William Thomson AO, CBE (23 August 1929 – 20 June 2018) – 

Australian professional golfer. 

Thomson won the Open Championship five times between 1954 and 1965. 

He is also the only golfer to win a (modern) major three times in succession. The Open (British) 1954, 1955, 1956. 

Thomson died in Melbourne on 20 June 2018 after a four-year battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 88. 

Darrell Eastlake (11 July 1942 – 19 April 2018) – 

Australian radio and television presenter, commentator and sports journalist. 

Eastlake is best known for his long association with the Nine Network. Prior to his media career, Eastlake worked as a Qantas baggage handler, before making surfboards and running a surf shop. His career in broadcasting began in the 1960s when he gave surf reports on Sydney radio station 2UW (now known as KIIS 106.5). 

During his media career, Eastlake was noted for his over-the-top voice and loud antics aimed at raising the excitement of listeners or viewers, providing commentary for weightlifting and motorsport. This trait was parodied by Billy Birmingham in his The Twelfth Man sporting commentary impersonations, including his Eastlake signature of (with a rising voice) "taking the voice back up to the threshold of pain". 

On 19 April 2018, Eastlake died in a nursing home where he lived on the New South Wales Central Coast. 

Jeff St John (born Jeffrey Leo Newton; 22 April 1946 – 6 March 2018) – 

Australian musician. 

St John is best known for several Australian hits, such as "Teach Me How to Fly" (1970), "Big Time Operator" (1967) and "A Fool in Love" (1977). 

St John was born with spina bifida and spent much of his life in a wheelchair. 

He was involved in educating people about disabilities and was a member of spina bifida support group MOSAIC. He appeared at the opening of the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney where he sang the Australian National Anthem, and a song written for the opening ceremony called The Challenge. 

Jeff St John died of a bacterial infection following surgery. He was aged 72. 

Sir Nicholas Michael Shehadie, AC, OBE (15 November 1925 – 11 February 2018) – 

Lord Mayor of Sydney (1973–1975) and national representative rugby union captain. 

Shehadie made thirty career test appearances for Australia between 1947 and 1958. He was President of the Australia Rugby Union from 1980 to 1987; in that role he pushed for and succeeded in persuading the International Rugby Board to launch the Rugby World Cup. He is an inductee into both the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame and the IRB Hall of Fame. 

Shehadie was 92 when he passed away. 

Graeme Frank Langlands, MBE, (2 September 1941 – 20 January 2018) – 

Australian professional rugby league footballer of the 1960s and 1970s. 

He retired as the most-capped player for the Australian national team with 45 international appearances from 1963 to 1975, and captained his country in 15 Test matches and World Cup games. Langlands was the fullback and goal-kicker for the St. George Dragons in the latter half of their 11-year consecutive premiership-winning run from 1956 to 1966. 

Ronald Peter Tandberg (31 December 1943 – 8 January 2018) – 

Australian illustrator and political cartoonist. 

Tandberg contributed to The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia from 1972. 

Tandberg's credits include eleven Walkley Awards. 

He was inducted into the Melbourne Press Club's Victorian Hall of Fame in 2014. 

Tandberg died of oesophageal cancer at St John of God Hospital, in Geelong, Victoria, surrounded by his family, in the afternoon of 8 January 2018, at the age of 74. 

Charles Richard Xuereb (19 April 1955 - 20 September 2018) - 

You may be wondering who Charles is. His death was not reported in the news media and he was not a celebrity. He was a good man. He was my friend.