Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Thought for the Day

More You Had One Job . . .

“You had one job. . . “

Response to failing to do the one and only thing you had to do. This is told, either in a disgusted, mocking, or angry tone to people, animals, inanimate objects, and anything else that fails to complete the simple task for which it was designed.  A way to express total fail, epic fail, especially when the one job was very simple.

-        Urban Dictionary

First recorded use:

A Play in One Act
By Lindsay Price, 1995”
Pg. 25:

JULIE: You had one job. One job in the whole show. You had to lay a rope across the stage and you forgot.


Yass is a town in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, 280 km south-west of Sydney, on the Hume Highway.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Thought for the Day

Joe Hildebrand: The dumbest trick ever pulled on Trump


One of my favourite Oz columnists is Joe Hildebrand . . . 

When times, events, circumstances and people are crazy, Joe always manages to bring a ray of light and reason into the mix.

Hildebrand is an Australian journalist, television and radio presenter.  He writes for The Daily Telegraph newspaper, and co-hosts the daytime television program Studio 10 with Network Ten.  He is also editor-at-large for news.com.au

The following article is from news.com and was posted yesterday, Sunday June 28 2020. 

It can be read at:
and deserves a reprint . . .


The dumbest trick ever pulled on Trump

Even after the dismal turnout at Donald Trump’s recent political rally, his opponents still didn’t manage to out-stupid him. This is why.

There is a particular form of logical argument perhaps best described as, “If I can’t see you, you can’t see me”.  This rests upon the assumption that if you cover your eyes then you either become invisible or whatever you are afraid of will disappear. Sadly it is not the most scientifically robust argument, which perhaps explains why it is only employed by young children, household pets and horror movie victims.

And yet it appears that this is now the prevailing political theory of the lunar activist left, which thinks that if you remove random objects from sight then all the bad things in society will likewise disappear.

This is most crudely manifested in the philistine craze of tearing down or defacing statues of long-dead people with whom they disagree. This includes historical figures from Christopher Columbus to Captain Cook to Winston Churchill. 

The statue of Francis Scott Key hits the ground after a group of more than one hundred protestors used ropes to pull it down in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 19, 2020.

The Lincoln Memorial also got vandalised in the name of anti-racism and there was even a petition calling for the removal of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. This should be a Monty Python sketch from 1970. Instead it’s the real world in 2020.

Notwithstanding the intellectual merit of arguing with inanimate objects, one has to wonder what practical benefit they are hoping to achieve.  Do these people seriously think that tearing down a statue of Robert Lee will erase racism from the Deep South? Do they think attacking a statue of Churchill in the heart of London will attract more Britons to their cause? In fact, it is driving people away.

Polling conducted this week by Essential Vision, an organisation firmly aligned with the Labor Party, unions and various progressive groups, found no less than 80 per cent of people agreed with the statement: “The protesters should focus on making changes for people living now, rather than things that happened in the past.” Just 14 per cent disagreed.  Furthermore, 76 per cent agreed that: “Every public figure has their positive and negative aspects, and this isn’t a good reason to remove their monuments or memorials.” And: “We lose part of our history when monuments and memorials are removed.”  Roughly half the respondents agreed that statues glorified past injustices or questionable characters but the vast majority of even this subset was smart enough to understand this was not a reflection of present society, nor would anything be achieved by their removal.

In short, such acts of senseless vandalism not only do nothing to address genuine problems in the community but they estrange the huge majority of progressive and moderate people who despise racism yet want to see history preserved.

But it is not just history that Year Zero ideologues are attempting to whitewash. It is also the present.

How else can one explain the bizarre decision of The New York Times to part ways with its opinion editor after he committed the unforgivable sin of publishing an article with which some of the staff did not agree.

A Republican senator wrote an op-ed calling for the military to be sent into areas where local authorities had failed to keep the peace – right at the same time US President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take just such an action.  Now I certainly do not support such an action – indeed, as I have repeatedly said, to send in the national military in violation of the express wishes of state governors looks disturbingly like a precursor to some form of civil war.

But that is not the point. A Republican senator expressing his support for the policy of a Republican president is hardly scandalous in and of itself. And indeed if such a thing was being contemplated you would think the readers of The Times would deserve to know about it.  But instead the paper decided the publication of the op-ed – as distinct to the proposed military incursion – was a danger to its staff. This raises the irresistible prospect that if the army actually did march into Manhattan the only people caught unawares would be the otherwise erudite readers of The New York Times. Post readers would already be halfway to the Catskills.

James Bennet, editorial page editor of The New York Times, resigned amid outrage over an op-ed by a Republican senator who advocated using federal troops to quell protests.

Again, this reveals a pattern of thinking rarely seen outside drug-induced psychosis – that by refusing to acknowledge the existence of something you don’t like that thing will itself somehow cease to exist.  This is King Canute-style politics – just tell the tide to stop coming in and don’t report the drownings.

Yet an even greater madness manifested itself only last week, when Trump was apparently tricked into thinking his massive comeback rally in Oklahoma was set to be a million man march – albeit of a rather different demographic than the first one. The President had boasted that that was the number of registrations he had, only to be left talking to a half-empty stadium when it turned out he’d effectively been Rick-Rolled – or rather Tik-Tok-rolled – by hundreds of thousands of social media users who’d swamped the organisers with fake registrations.

As far as political stunts go, it was a neat enough trick. But like all magic tricks it only works if you don’t tell the audience how it was done. The whole point of the exercise, presumably, was to make it appear as though Trump had lost his base, that blue-collar middle-America had deserted him. Yet that illusion was instantly shattered by the very same side that were trying to create it. No sooner had Trump delivered his war-cry to half-empty bleachers than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the firebrand Democratic congresswoman, blew the whole operation.  And so instead of the public perception that Trump had been abandoned by his followers it was now revealed that he’d merely been trolled by a bunch of teenagers.

In political terms, it is impossible to overstate how monumentally stupid and self-defeating this was. Trump could have been left looking humiliated and abandoned but now had black and white proof that it was all a conspiracy by his usual grab-bag of suspects: Democrats, fake news and biased social media.

It is hard to imagine a more perfect vindication of Trump’s own narrative. Just when the guy had been locked up in solitary AOC gave him a get-out-of-jail-free card. Trump and his enemies have finally become as dumb as each other. Revealing that the President had not been abandoned by his loyal followers but had in fact been duped by a bunch of teenagers on TikTok left him in a stronger position than before. Indeed, the most excruciating thing is it is precisely the same kind of lunar logic Trump himself uses.

Trump even made the exact same argument at the very same rally when he bragged he could keep coronavirus numbers low by simply not testing for it – just as his opponents were bragging they could keep Trump supporter numbers low by simply swamping a web page.

At least Trump was joking – we hope.

This goes right to the heart and the beginnings of Trump America, a land where both the hard right and hard left have abandoned the notion of truth. It was on Trump’s very first day in the job, at his own inauguration, that embarrassed by lower than expected crowd numbers the White House infamously coined the term “alternative facts”. Now those charged with contesting this conspiratorial madness have inadvertently confirmed it.

The obsession with imagery and illusion, online outrage and unhinged street rage, has left the concepts of reason, fact and rationality – perhaps even the notion of truth itself – at the bottom of a deep, dark and long-forgotten well.

-  Joe Hildebrand


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Thought for the Day

Pulitzer, World Press Photos of the Year, continued: 1991


Pulitzer Prizes for Photography:

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).

World Press Photo of the Year:

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".

The photographs are interesting not only in their own right but for being windows on history.

Pulitzer Feature (Human Interest) Photograph
William Snyder, Dallas Morning News
Photographs of ill and orphaned children living in subhuman conditions in Romania.
The Photographs:

One of Snyder’s Pulitzer-Prize winning photographs of Mimi Rizescu attempting to console a child, while feeding another one, in the Home for Irrecoverables in Vulturesti, Romania.

The Photographer:

- William Snyder is an American photojournalist and former Director of Photography for The Dallas Morning News.
- Snyder won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1989 along with reporter David Hanners and artist Karen Blessen for their special report on a 1985 airplane crash, the follow-up investigation, and the implications for air safety.
- In 1991, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography as above and below.
- In 1993, Snyder and Ken Geiger won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for their photographic coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
- As Photo Director he oversaw the Morning News photo staff's 2006 Pulitzer-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
- In the Spring of 2008, Snyder took the buyout at The Dallas Morning News and returned to his alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he is now the chair in the Photojournalism BFA program.


Previous posts in this continuing series have looked at the role of the news photographer and photojournalist separate feelings and involvement from the subjects they are photographing, whether that is possible and whether it takes a toll.  William Snyder’s 1991 Pulitzer winning photographs also fall into that issue.

From “Picture Coverage of the World: Pulitzer Prize Winning Photos” by Heinz-Dietrich Fischer:

“It was horrible, absolutely horrible. I was a human being, someone you could touch and see.  The kids were all over me. I had a son about two years old.  I just kept projecting him in that situation, it was vert difficult.  A lot of the workers didn’t care about the children, they did the bare minimum. They swaddled the children so that they wouldn’t roll around and create problems – therefore restricting motor growth and coordination.  I had always been a run-and-gun photographer. Going to Romania changed everything for me. This wasn’t about pictures, this was about people, defenseless, helpless people. It was no longer just pictures to be taken, it was about stories to be told.” 


World Press Photo of the Year 1991:

Okay, right from the outset, I admit I screwed up.  Twice.

The 1991 World Press Photograph of the Year was by Georges Merillon and was entitled “Kosovo Conflict.”  It shows the family of Nashim Elshani grieving around his deathbed after he was killed while protesting for Kosovar autonomy.

I incorrectly attributed this photograph to 1990 and wrote about it at:

My second error was to attribute the correct 1990 World Press Photograph of the Year, “Tank Man” by Charlie Cole, to 1989. That iconic photograph is:

 Read about it at:

Mea culpa.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Thought for the Day

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy . . .


Some risque content ahead. 

Dixie Chicks: 

The singing group formerly known as The Dixie Chicks and now simply The Chicks, is one of my wife’s favourite country groups. 

(Which brings to mind Bob Newhart’s comment: “I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'.”) 

Hopefully Kate won’t do a Goodbye Earl on me for that comment. 

The girls have dropped the reference to Dixie as part of the current swing against Confederate symbols, statues and names. Dixie is a nostalgic nickname for the Civil War-era South. 

One problem with the name change was that there was already a New Zealand female group performing as The Chicks, or The Chucks in NZ-speak. According to The Chicks (US version): “A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘The Chicks’ of NZ for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name. We are honoured to coexist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters. Chicks Rock!” 

June 26, 2020 

By the way: 

From Wikipedia 

Dixie", also known as "Dixie's Land", "I Wish I Was in Dixie", and other titles, is a popular song in the Southern United States. It is one of the most distinctively Southern musical products of the 19th century and probably the best-known song to have come out of blackface minstrelsy. It was not a folk song at its creation, but it has since entered the American folk vernacular. The song likely cemented the word "Dixie" in the American vocabulary as a nickname for the Southern United States.

"Dixie" had originated in the minstrel shows of the 1850s and quickly became popular throughout the United States. During the American Civil War, it was adopted as a de facto national anthem of the Confederacy. New versions appeared at this time that more explicitly tied the song to the events of the Civil War.

The song was a favorite of President Abraham Lincoln; he had it played at some of his political rallies and at the announcement of General Robert E. Lee's surrender.

Several theories exist regarding the origin of the term "Dixie". According to Robert LeRoy Ripley (founder of Ripley's Believe It or Not!), "Dixieland" was a farm on Long Island, New York, owned by a man named John Dixie. He befriended so many slaves before the Civil War that his place became a sort of a paradise to them. James H. Street says that "Johaan Dixie" was a Haarlem (Manhattan Island) farmer who decided that his slaves were not profitable because they were idle during the New York winter, so he sent them to Charleston where they were sold. Subsequently, the slaves were busy constantly, longing for the less strenuous life on the Haarlem farm; they would chant, "I sure wish we was back on Dixie's land." The most popular theory maintains that the term originated in the Mason–Dixon line. 

Kurt Cobain’s guitar: 

The guitar that grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain played during his 1993 MTV Unplugged performance sold at auction last weekend for a record $6 million (AU$8.78m). The performance took place five months before his suicide at age 27. 

June 26, 2020 

Cobain’s cardigan from the same performance sold for $489,000 in October last year, According to Rolling Stone, the unwashed cardigan has a missing button and two cigarette burns and it “smells like a grandmother’s musty attic”. 

October 19, 2019 

Nicole Kidman re Jay Leno: 

Russell Crowe revealed last week that his friend Nicole Kidman had pranked Jay Leno some years ago by telling Leno that the Oz expression “crack a fat” meant something else. According to Crowe: “She said it and Jay kept repeating it over and over again, and Nicole realised the hole she'd dug herself into. Jay kept saying things like, "We'll be right back after this break to crack a fat with Nicole Kidman!" And that sent Nicole into giggles.' 

Daily Mail 
25 June, 2020 

Now every schoolboy in Oz knows that the expression to “crack a fat” means to get an erection, to get a boner, a stiffy, what our American cousins term to get wood. 

No wonder Nicole Kidman was giggling every time Leno used the expression unaware of its meaning. 

Marilyn Monroe house: 

Victorian real estate agent Christian Gravias has come up with some quirky ideas in the past to promote properties he is tasked with selling, from featuring the Joker in the video of one house and a James Bond in another. 

This time he has the job of selling 161 Munro Street, Coburg, Victoria, a reinvigorated former shopfront on the market for $1.15-$1.25 million. What better way to sell in Munro Street than with Marilyn Monroe, and what better way to do that than with a mural by local artist Lushux of the most famous and iconic image of her . . . 

There is also a video of a Marilyn Monroe lookalike doing the tour of the property on the marketing video: 

June 24, 2020 

By the way: 

Shooting the upskirts scene at 1.00am, Monroe was watched by a large crow of spectators which included new husband Joe Di Maggio. Coming from a traditional Italian family, he had definite ideas on women, wives, their roles and their expected behaviour, and having skirts blowing up to reveal legs and underwear was definitely not part of it. At their hotel room after filming had finished, he beat her so badly that management was called by concerned guests and makeup had to cover her bruises the next day. Three weeks later he told sports writer Stacy Edwards Things got out of hand, I admit it. But she pissed me off so much. She didn't care what I thought about anything, she just wanted to do what she wanted to do."