Monday, December 11, 2023





Some facts from the website “Today I Learned” . . .


JFK didn’t invite Sammy Davis Jr. to his 1961 inauguration as Sammy had married a white woman, and JFK was worried that the presence of an interracial couple would upset Southerners. Dean Martin, who was angered by this news, refused to attend the inauguration in solidarity with Sammy.


Philip Workman, an inmate on death row, requested that his last meal be a pizza for any homeless person located nearby. Prison officials refused, declaring they don’t donate to charity. The public decided to donate pizzas to homeless shelters themselves, in his name, after his execution.


The first speeding ticket in history was issued to a person caught speeding at 8 mph (13 km/h), four times the speed limit of 2 mph (3 km/h). In 1896, Mr. Arnold was pursued for 5 miles by a policeman on a bicycle

Alaska is so large and deserted, it has the equivalent population density of 16 people living in Manhattan.

In 2009, three masked burglars broke into Dolph Lundgren's home, tied up and threatened his wife, but fled after finding a family photo and realizing whose home they'd broken into.


Quentin Roosevelt, son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was a pilot who was killed in combat in WW1. For propaganda purposes, Germany made a postcard of the dead pilot and his plane, However, this was met with shock by Germans, who were impressed that a president's son died on active duty.


When a newly discovered sponge-like fungi was named after SpongeBob SquarePants in 2011, a mycological research journal initially rejected the name for being “too frivolous”. When challenged, the scientists stood behind their discovery, saying “we’ll name it whatever we like”.

Every Australian is entitled to a portrait of the reigning monarch - paid for by the government. After the Queen died, there was a rush to get the last portraits of her before the Charles stock came in.


Kate Winslet broke Tom Cruise's underwater filming record while filming Avatar 2. Winslet held her breath during a scene for seven minutes and twelve seconds beating the mark of six minutes Cruise set while filming Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.


Researchers testing the Infinite Monkey theorem: Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter "S", the lead male began striking the keyboard with a stone, and other monkeys followed by urinating and defecating on the machine


Before the invention of ice cream cones, ice cream was served in reusable glass containers called "penny licks" which were notorious for spreading disease because they were reused & never washed between customers.


Prisoners in Japan who are sentenced to death only find out on the morning of their execution. The prisoner's family and legal representatives, and also the general public, are informed only after the execution has taken place.

Deep Lake, a lake in Antarctica that has such high salinity, 10 times saltier than the oceans, that it never freezes, even in the winter. Conditions in the lake are so hostile that almost nothing can survive there.


In Shanghai every weekend there is a marriage market, parents and grandparents of unmarried adults gather in a park and trade information on their children/grandchildren (height, weight, income, occupation...) with the goal to find them a suitable partner

The Babushka Lady is an unidentified woman present during the 1963 assassination of JFK, who appeared to be taking photos as other witnesses took cover. Her identity, along with her photos, remain unknown

Saturday, December 9, 2023



The Fourth Top 10 + 2, continued


The next instalment of the next Top 10 + 2, the fourth of such lists.

As I have I have previously posted, my Top 10 + 2 films is based on “watchability”, those films which you (meaning me) like to watch more than once and enjoy thoroughly for whatever reasons. Hence Groundhog Day was on the list, Citizen Kane is not, at least in my case never having had the urge to watch Citizen Kane more than once. My friend Steve cringes at my choices .

The reason my first list was called Top 10 + 2 was that I had difficulty whittling the list down to 10.


The current list so far:
How Green Was My Valley
It Happened One Night
The Maltese Falcon


Today’s film:

Take the Money and Run


The film:

Take the Money and Run is a 1969 American mockumentary crime comedy film directed by Woody Allen. Allen co-wrote the screenplay with Mickey Rose and stars alongside Janet Margolin. The film chronicles the life of Virgil Starkwell, an inept bank robber.

Virgil Starkwell's story is told in documentary style, using fake stock footage and 'interviews' with people who knew him.

He begins a life of crime at a young age. As a child, Virgil is a frequent target of bullies, who take his glasses and stamp on them on the floor. As an adult, Virgil is clumsy and socially awkward, and both police and judges discipline him by stamping on his glasses.

The fun continues in that vein.

So many funny moments:
  • Virgil playing cello in a marching band
  • The escape with the rest of the chain gang, having to speak to the sheriff while shackled together
  • The parents on camera wearing false noses, glasses and moustaches so that they can’t be identified
  • The demand note to the bank teller during the robbery where they argue over the spelling of “gun”
  • The prison escape which fails when he is caught in the rain with a pretend pistol carved from soap

Movie trivia:

This was the second film directed by Woody Allen. He had originally wanted Jerry Lewis to direct, but when that did not work out, Allen decided to direct it himself. This film marked the first time Allen would perform the triple duties of writing, directing, and acting in a film.

The film was shot on location in San Francisco, including scenes filmed at a Bank of America branch on the 4th of July 1968, and in Ernie's restaurant, whose striking red interior was immortalized in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958).

Other scenes were filmed at San Quentin State Prison,]. One hundred San Quentin prisoners were paid a small fee to work on the film during the prison sequences. The regular cast and crew were stamped each day with a special ink that glowed under ultra-violet light so the guards could tell who was allowed to leave the prison grounds at the end of the day.

Woody Allen later said he was not nervous about his first day but was so excited about shooting on location in San Quentin prison that he cut his nose shaving that morning. The mishap can be seen in the prison scene in the movie. He and his team found the inmates there to be very friendly and cooperative. The prison authorities also eagerly welcomed the production but issued a warning: cast and crew were always to be accompanied by guards and if taken hostage, the gates would not be opened to secure their release.

Virgil Starkwell was born on December 1, 1935. This is Woody Allen's actual date of birth.

The original ending of Virgil dying in a hail of bullets would have been followed by a brief humorous scene at his funeral when his wife hears him whisper from below ground, "Get me out."

The ending was changed and made lighter. Virgil is captured when attempting to rob a former friend who reveals he is now a cop. He is sentenced to 800 years, but remains optimistic knowing that "with good behavior, I can get that cut in half". In the last scene, he is shown carving a bar of soap and asking the interviewer if it is raining outside.

Woody Allen thought of using his then wife, Louise Lasser, for his leading lady (who is called Louise in the story), but she was a screen unknown. He did, however, cast her in a comic interview scene as a neighbor stunned to learn that the "idiot" she knew was actually a criminal mastermind.

The contract Woody Allen had with Palomar Pictures gave him carte blanche to do what he wanted with this film, including final cut, setting the precedent for how he works to this day. "They never bothered me," he said. "It was a very pleasant experience. And from that day on I never had any problems in the cinema from the point of view of interference in any way."

Woody Allen's first cut was deemed to be decidedly unfunny, including his death scene in a slow-mo hail of bullets, like Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Producers Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe convinced him to sit with top editor Ralph Rosenblum to see what could be salvaged. The first thing Rosenblum did was cut out the gory ending, then he restructured the film completely, and generally tightened up Allen's loose narrative. This effort transformed the finished film into a comedy classic. Rosenblum subsequently became Allen's editor of choice on most of his next films, including Bananas (1971), Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975) and Annie Hall (1977).

Virgil's inept attempt to escape prison by carving a gun out of soap and turning it black with shoe polish is loosely based on real life bank robber John Dillinger's famous escape from the Crown Point, Indiana jail using a wooden gun blackened with shoe polish.


Watch the film by clicking on:

Official trailer:

“I am pointing a gub at you”

Chain gang:


Let me know how you enjoyed it, Steve

Friday, December 8, 2023




---- 😊😊😊 -----

A mixed bag of chortles, snorts, laughs and giggles today, readers, which includes some risque content, so ne warned.

Enjoy the weekend.

---- 😊😊😊 -----


A man appeared before St. Peter at the pearly gates. “Have you ever done anything of particular merit?” St. Peter asked.

“Well,” the man said, “once I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him on the head, kicked over his bike, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. ‘Now leave her alone!’ I yelled.””

St. Peter was impressed: “When did this happen?”

“Just a couple of minutes ago.”

A drunk staggered from the bar, careened down the street, and somehow managed to make it up the stairs into the cathedral. Once inside, he crashed from pew to pew, finally making his way to a side aisle and into a confessional.

A young priest had observed his trajectory and figured the fellow needed some help, so he entered his side of the confessional. The priest sat silence, finally beginning to wonder if the man had passed out. “May I help you, my son?” he asked.

“I dunno,” came the drunk’s voice from behind the partition. “You got any paper on your side?”

A heart surgeon took his car to his local garage for a regular service, where he usually exchanged a little friendly banter with the owner, a skilled but not especially wealthy mechanic.

"So tell me," says the mechanic, "I've been wondering about what we both do for a living, and how much more you get paid than me.."

"Yes?.." says the surgeon.

"Well look at this," says the mechanic, as he worked on a big complicated engine, "I check how it's running, open it up, fix the valves, and put it all back together so it works good as new.. We basically do the same job don't we? And yet you are paid ten times what I am - how do you explain that?"

The surgeon thought for a moment, and smiling gently, replied, "Try it with the engine running

Whoever coined the term ‘delivery’ for childbirth made a big mistake.

It should have been called takeout instead.

---- 😊😊😊 -----

A woman is walking home with her 3 children.

The oldest daughter turns to her and asks, "Mummy, how did I get my name?"

"Well sweetie, when we were bringing you home from the hospital, a rose petal landed on your head! So that's why we named you Rose.”

The second daughter, now curious, asks the same question.

"Well darling, when we were bringing you home from the hospital, a lily petal landed on your head! So that's why we named you Lily."

The third child, a boy, says "HHGHGNGHGHNG?!?!?! DDDNBHGHBHNGHHH!!!"

"Shut up, Brick.”

A young couple get married and have their first night together in their new home.

As they are undressing for bed, the husband hands the wife his pants.

"Here, try these on," he says.

"What? Why?" she says.

"Just put them on," he insists.

"They're way too big," she says. "I can't wear those."

"That's right," he says. "I wear the pants in this marriage. Don't you forget it."

"Got it," she says, slipping off her panties and handing them to him. "Here, try these on."

He holds them up and sees how tiny they are.

"Are you kidding?" he says. "I can't get into your panties!"

"That's right. And that's the way it's going to stay until your attitude changes."

---- 😊😊😊 -----


An awful old bounder. McGee
Used to think he could dip his wick free.
But a harlot named Charlotte
Remarked with a snarl, ‘It
Is business, not pleasure, with me.’

---- 😊😊😊 -----


---- 😊😊😊 -----


The stranger approached the pastor after service and said, “I’d like you to pray for my hearing.”

The pastor placed his hands on the man’s ears and said a passionate, earnest prayer.

“How’s your hearing now?” the pastor asked.

Looking surprised, the man said, “Well, it’s not until tomorrow.”

---- 😊😊😊 -----


Elton John's pet rabbit is small, but in very good shape.

It's a little fit bunny.

I can't get the damn qsn to work...

Oh, wait, I had the usb upside down

The oldest computer can be traced back to Adam and Eve. It was an apple but with extremely limited memory.

Just 1 byte. And then everything crashed.

My mum suffers with memory loss

Hope it doesn't run in the family because my mum’s got it too

How many Germans do you need to change a lightbulb?

One, we are very efficient and not funny


I asked my German friend, “What’s a three letter word for compete?”

Friend: Vie.

Me: Because I’m trying to finish a crossword.

Took my car to the mechanic because it was making a terrible noise

He removed the Mariah Carey Christmas CD, and now it’s fine.

---- 😊😊😊 -----

Thursday, December 7, 2023





This was reposted in 2021 from an original Bytes post in 2010.

I am reposting it because our grandson, who has just turned 2, has a fascination with the Dem Bones song and keeps wanting it replaye.  We usually spend each Wednesday with him and he has a favourite selection of songs to be played, this being one of his choices for repeat plays.

There are numerous kids’ version on the internet as per the links below, the first being his favourite.  

Odd how such a story with a macabre background can become a popular song with young children.

The Skeleton Dance

Another children’s version:

Here’s one with a difference:
Herman Munster singing ‘Dem Bones’:

Here is the original post . . .


I was driving to work yesterday and for no apparent reason began humming Dem Dry Bones. Everyone knows the song, even Generation Z, also known as the Internet Generation, who have lost the power of speech in that they are forever texting, twittering, facebooking or emailing.

It started me thinking: Why did someone write a song describing which bones are connected to which other bones? Why did it become so popular? And why does it have a refrain of “Hear the word of the Lord”? It was truly a strange thing mystifying.

The more I thought about, the more the damn song kept going around in my head, so eventually I looked into the lyrics.

You can hear the song, using the version from that delightful Pommy series The Singing Detective (btw, Michael Gambon passed away on 27 September, 2023), at:

Another version by the Delta Rhythm Boys can be heard by clicking on:

The lyrics are:

Ezekiel cried, "Dem dry bones!"
Ezekiel cried, "Dem dry bones!"
Ezekiel cried, "Dem dry bones!"
"Oh, hear the word of the Lord."

The toe bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun'
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun'
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun'
Oh, hear the word of the Lord.

The head bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the toe bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

For those who have looked at the lyrics, a couple of items should already be apparent.

The first is that the song sounds like an African-American spiritual, which it is. The lyrics go back to the early 1800’s; the melody was written by African-American James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938).

The second is that there is a religious connection, as indicated by the references to the word of the Lord and Ezekiel.

The lyrics are based on Ezekiel 37:1-14, where the prophet visits the Valley of Dry Bones and causes them to become alive by God's command:
1 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.

3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.

6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.

8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ”

10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.

14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it, ” says the Lord.’
Ezekiel, in the Valley of Dry Bones, witnesses God join the dried, bleached bones together to form skeletons, then cover them with muscle and tissue. At the last, God breathes life into them, as happened in Genesis at the creation of Adam.

Not a bad party trick and something that would make even David Copperfield or Penn and Teller scratch their heads. But the show is more than a spectacle to show Ezekiel that God is not someone to be messed with.

Some 2,600 years ago the Babylonians had invaded Israel, destroyed the Holy Temple and killed every Israelite they could lay their hands on, except for those taken back to Babylon (now Iraq) to be slaves.

Ezekiel, whose name means God Will Strengthen, was one of those taken back to Babylon as a slave.

God’s creation of life in the Valley of Dry Bones was a promise to the Israelites, who felt abandoned by God, that He would take them out of the nations where they had gone, take them out of slavery, and settle them in their own land where they, and their children and their children’s children would live forever. It is a promise of new life, both of a homeland and of the spirit.

It is not hard to see how such a message would have appealed to African-Americans in slavery.

Now I have that song bouncing around in my head even more...

Wednesday, December 6, 2023





Survivors of the Titanic are taken on board the Carpathia in 1912.

By the way:

In April 1912 RMS Carpathia became famous for rescuing survivors of the rival White Star Line's RMS Titanic after it struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Carpathia navigated the ice fields to arrive two hours after the Titanic had sunk, and the crew rescued 705 survivors from the ship's lifeboats.

Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard the Titanic, more than 1,500 died, making it the deadliest sinking of a single ship up to that time. It remains the deadliest peacetime sinking of an ocean liner or cruise ship.

The Carpathia was sunk during World War I on 17 July 1918 after being torpedoed three times by the German submarine U-55 off the southern Irish coast, with a loss of five crew members.

The name of the ship comes from the mountain range of the Carpathians in Eastern Europe.

Anastasia shares a smoke in 1916 with her father Tsar Nicholas II two years before their assassination.


The House of Romanov was the reigning imperial house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. Nicholas II and his immediate family were executed in 1918, but there are still living descendants.

The abdication of Nicholas II on 15 March 1917 as a result of the February Revolution ended 304 years of Romanov rule and led to the establishment of the Russian Republic under the Russian Provisional Government in the lead-up to the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922.

In 1918, the Bolsheviks ordered the execution of Nicholas II and his family. Of the House of Romanov's 65 members, 47 survivors went into exile abroad.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna. Anastasia was murdered with her family on 17 July 1918 by the Bolshevik secret police.

During the years of Communist rule nobody knew where she was buried. This led to many stories that she could have escaped and still be alive.

Disneyland opening in Anaheim, California on July 17, 1955.



Disneyland's opening day was "disastrous" by many accounts — the park wasn't quite ready for visitors, it ran out of food and drinks, counterfeit tickets led to unexpectedly large crowds, and shoes even got stuck in freshly laid asphalt in 100-degree California heat. Despite all these issues, Disneyland's opening day will be forever remembered as a turning point in the amusement park industry's history, kicking off the wildly successful Disney Parks empire that has since evolved into a cultural phenomenon.

The 65th anniversary for "The Happiest Place on Earth" wound up being historically significant for another, more sobering reason. In 2020, a year that was meant to be joyous and celebratory for the park, the coronavirus pandemic shuttered all six theme park resorts around the world for the first time in their history. Disneyland remained closed through its anniversary, July 17, and didn't open until the following April.

Mark Twain in 1883.


The earliest known aerial photograph, taken from a balloon over Paris in 1858.


Soviet soldiers stand dumfounded at a large pile of human ashes found at the Majdanek concentration camp in 1944.


A lion rides in the sidecar during a performance of The Wall of Death carnival attraction at Revere Beach, Massachusetts in 1929.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023


″‘Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, ‘you’d generally get to somewhere else – if you ran very fast for a long time as we’ve been doing.’ 

‘A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. ‘Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!‘”

Lewis Carroll, 'Through the Looking-Glass'

(I frequently relate to what the Red Queen is saying.)