Saturday, April 30, 2011

Milestone Moment

This is the one thousandth post on Bytes. I have enjoyed posting and I have enjoyed the feedback.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Some thoughts and comments about one thousand...

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.
- Buddha

I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old.
- Charles Baudelaire

Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?
- Friedrich Nietzsche

If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.
- Flavia Weedn

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
- Lao Tzu

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
- Buddha

Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once.
- Turkish Proverb

May you live a thousand years, and I, a thousand less one day; that I might never know the world without you.
- Hungarian proverb

If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Measure a thousand times and cut once.
- Turkish proverb

Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.
- Napoleon Bonaparte

A reputation for a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment.
- Ernest Bramah

Movie Moments: #18

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

Henry V111 (Richard Burton) and Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold)

King Henry VIII: Then, Anne, lets do all gently for old times sake. I have no wish to harm you, and your words have moved me deeply. I must be free to have a son, and the son must be free to rule England when I die.

Anne: Why must you leave a king to follow you, Henry? Why not a queen?

King Henry VIII: This country has never been ruled by a queen. I know it never could be. We can never have a son now, God has spoken. I must have a son elsewhere. And it's getting late. I'm not as young as I was.

Anne: What do you want of me?

King Henry VIII: Agree to annul the marriage and give up all rights. You shall go abroad and take Elizabeth

with you. You will be well cared for. Please set me free.

Anne: To marry Seymour and make our child a bastard? No. No. No.

Anne: But Elizabeth is yours. Watch her as she grows; she's yours. She's a Tudor! Get yourself a son off of that sweet, pale girl if you can - and hope that he will live! But Elizabeth shall reign after you! Yes, Elizabeth - child of Anne the Whore and Henry the Blood-Stained Lecher - shall be Queen! And remember this: Elizabeth shall be a greater queen than any king of yours! She shall rule a greater England than you could ever have built! Yes - MY Elizabeth SHALL BE QUEEN! And my blood will have been well spent!

Movie Trivia

Richard Burton had been with Elizabeth Taylor since 1963, when Cleopatra had been filmed. By 1969 when Anne of the Thousand Days was being filmed, there were reports that his eye had begin to wander. Shooting was in England and word came back to Elizabeth Taylor that Burton and Genevieve Bujold, the female lead of Anne, were getting on perhaps a little too well. She decided to visit the set and did so when the final scene was being filmed, the scene in which Henry confronts Anne in the Tower of London. The above monologue by Anne comes from that final scene. When Bujold heard of Taylor’s arrival, she “was fighting mad” records the producer, Hal B Wallis. According to Wallis: "She turned to Jarrott and me and said, ‘I'm going to give that bitch an acting lesson she'll never forget!’ then took her position in front of the camera. What seemed a misfortune suddenly turned into an advantage. Genevieve flung herself into the scene with a display of acting skill I have seldom seen equalled in my career. Then she stormed off the set. Soon after filming finished, we had an end-of-the-picture party. The two actresses held court at opposite ends of the room. Richard Burton very pointedly never left Elizabeth's side."

Scary words...

Many years ago I read an item that I have since sought on the internet, unfortunately without success. That item was that a study had been carried out in various countries to find the words that raised the most negative feelings.

In Europe the word was “war”, not unsurprising when you consider that nearly all countries in Europe have invaded, been invaded or engaged in wars, many within living memory at the time of the study. Today most European families have memories of family members and loved ones lost to war.

No doubt the same would apply to the Middle East today.

In Australia, in contrast, the word that created the most negative feelings was “shark”.

Feel free to form your own conclusions and opinions.

Movie Moments: #17

"Get your stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

George Taylor (Charlton Heston)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

In the 2001 remake a human touches ape Colonel Attar, who says "Take your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!", mirroring the original line from Charlton Heston.

Heston has a cameo role as an ape in the remake, as Zaius, the father of head ape General Thade. In the original POTA, Dr Zaius was the Minister of Science and main ape bad guy, the one who knew that humans had once been the dominant species but who kept that information suppressed.

At the end of the original Planet of the Apes, Heston comes to the realisation that he is not on a different planet but on Earth many years in the future. Seeing the ruins of the Statue of Liberty, he realises that nuclear war reduced humankind to the level of animals and that apes have evolved into the dominant species. He falls to his knees and says “Oh my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” In the remake, as an ape, he says of humans: “Damn them... damn them all to hell!”   It is also interesting to note that in the POTA remake, he produces an old handgun to illustrate how dangerous humans can be.  Charlton Hestoin in real life was the President of the National Rifle Association and vocal advocate for the right of Americans to bear arms.

Bonus pic:

I love this...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Being Green

There are various websites, Hoaxslayer and Urban Legends for instance, that examine urban myths and claims.  The leading and most highly regarded is (read as snopes dot com), named after a family of characters in the works of Nobel prizewinning writer William Faulkner.

In 1998 a Snopes contributor, Patricia Chapin, coined the term “glurge” to refer to the inspirational and/or syrupy, corny, kitschy mass-mailed emails that keep arriving in your email inbox. They often feature sad-eyed puppies, sweet-faced children, angels, dying mothers, or miraculous rescues brought about by prayer They also frequently distort facts and history to support the comments in the message.

Chapin selected the name “glurge” because it sounded like the retching sensation one gets on reading such emails.

I mention this because Byter Leo, who sends and forwards about 500 emails per day, sent me a glurge which has some  valid comments. I don’t agree with all of them but some points hit the mark. . .

Movie Moments: #16

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

Man in Black (Cary Elwes)

The Princess Bride  (1987)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More puns...

"Puns are little "plays on words" that a certain breed of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to indicate that he thinks that you must think that he is by far the cleverest person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water."

Dave Barry

The following puns were emailed by Byter "Throw him off the lifeboat" Leo:

A mate of mine recently admitted to being addicted to brake fluid. When I quizzed him on it he reckoned he could stop any time....

Movie Moments: #15

As Barry McKenzie (Barry Crocker), an illegal immigrant, is smuggled into the UK in a van with a group of Indians, he sits next to a young Indian female. Obviously educated, she is reading a book by Immanuel Kant. He tries to start a conversation with her and asks what she’s reading…

Indian Girl: I am studying Kant.

Barry McKenzie: Same here, but I keep failing the practical.

Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974)

(At the end of the movie Barry and his aunt, Edna Everidge, return to Australia after having bested Count Von Plasma, the vampire head of an isolated Eastern European dictatorship. Von Plasma had kidnapped Edna after having mistaken her for the Queen of England. At the airport they are welcomed by the then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret (the real ones, not actors) with the Prime Minister bestowing upon Edna the title of Dame Edna. When Whitlam and his government had been elected in 1972, one of the first policy decisions implemented was to scrap the imperial ie British, honours system in favour of an Australia one.  Whitlam was later to remark that the title Dame Edna "was the only Imperial honour my government ever conferred.").

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teddy Sheean

The following item would have been appropriate for an Anzac Day posting but came to my attention only after that day had passed. Nonetheless, I will post it  because it has a significance that goes beyond Anzac Day.

Some time ago, I read about a young sailor, Edward Sheean, who had been killed in action in 1942.

I came across his name again yesterday when I saw an item in the previous week's Sunday newspaper that I was throwing out. The news item that caught my eye was that eleven sailors and two soldiers are being considered for posthumous Victoria Cross awards for acts of bravery and gallantry. Not one sailor has ever been awarded the Victoria Cross. Included in the list of persons being considered are Edward Sheean and Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, who is today remembered for collecting the wounded from the Gallipoli battlefields with his famous donkey.

Movie Moments: #14

“You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow.”

Lauren Bacall (Marie "Slim" Browning)
To Have and Have Not (1944)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Quote: Walt Kelly

The oft quoted line “We have met the enemy and his is us” is the creation of American cartoonist and animator Walt Kelly (1913-1973), who is best known for his newspaper comic strip Pogo. It concerns the adventures of a group of animals living in the Okefenokee Swamp, the main character being Pogo the Possum. Dating from 1948, the strip was a landmark in its use of political and social satire, even being courageous enough to attack Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt hearings by the introduction of a shotgun-wielding bobcat named "Simple J. Malarkey”.

The quote is a parody of a message sent in 1813 from US Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie, stating, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."

Movie Moments: #13

REVEREND CLAYTON: You wanna quit, Ethan?
ETHAN: That'll be the day.

MARTIN: I hope you die!
ETHAN:: That'll be the day

The Searchers (1956)

In the above movie, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), a hardened, embittered Civil War veteran, and his adoptive nephew Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), spend years searching for Ethan's niece who was abducted by Indians.  Regarded today as a classic and one of the best Westerns ever made, it received not one Academy Award nomination.

Whenever someone says something to Ethan, or makes a suggestion him, with which he does not agree, Ethan responds with "That'll be the day."  Buddy Holly was so influenced by seeing that movie and hearing the line that he wrote his hit "That'll Be the Day".  The 1960's pop group The Searchers (Sweets for My Sweet, Needles and Pins, When You Walk In the Room, Sugar and Spice, Don't Throw Your Love Away, Love Potion No 9) took their name from the movie.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Quote: Marie Curie

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”

- Marie Curie

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) was a Polish-French physicist and chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity, who
• was the first person honoured with two Nobel Prizes, in physics and chemistry;
• shared her Nobel Prize in Physics (1903) with her husband Pierre Curie (her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie and son-in-law Frederic Joliot-Curie similarly shared a Nobel Prize);
• was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry;
• was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize;
• is the only woman to win in two fields and the only person to win in multiple sciences;
• developed a theory of radioactivity, a term that she coined, developed techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes and discovered two elements, radium and polonium, the latter named after her beloved Poland.

She died in 1934 aged 66 from aplastic anemia contracted from exposure to radiation. The damaging effects of ionising radiation were not then known, and much of her work had been carried out in a shed, without proper safety measures. She had carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pocket and stored them in her desk drawer, remarking on the pretty blue-green light that the substances gave off in the dark. Because of their levels of radioactivity, her papers from the 1890s are considered too dangerous to handle. Even her cookbook is highly radioactive. They are kept in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing.

Movie Moments: #12

JACK: What are your legs?

ARCHY HAMILTON: Springs. Steel springs.

JACK: What are they going to do?

ARCHY HAMILTON: Hurl me down the track.

JACK: How fast can you run?

ARCHY HAMILTON: As fast as a leopard.

JACK: How fast are you going to run?

ARCHY HAMILTON: As fast as a leopard!

JACK: Then let's see you do it!

Gallipoli (1981)

The movie Gallipoli accurately depicts the tragic and futile charge of the 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments at dawn on 7 August 1915 at the battle of The Nek'. The Nek was a narrow stretch of ridge on the Gallipoli peninsula, the name deriving from the Afrikaans word for a "mountain pass" The terrain was a perfect bottleneck and easy to defend.

The final scenes show the various assault waves being cut down by Turkish machine gun fire as soon as they go “over the top”. The men know that attack is futile and that they have no hope of survival. They leave their belongings such as watches, and last notes to loved ones, pinned to the sandbags by bayonets as they also say their farewells to each other. The end scene shows the young soldier Archie, formerly a stockman and prizewinning sprinter, running at the Turkish trenches as though in a foot race, without his rifle and in sprint mode. As he is cut down by machine gun fire, the movie freeze frames his death in an image that appears to be of him breasting a tape.

That incident is historically accurate, as are most of the military scenes in the movie. Archie’s sprinting at the impenetrable Turkish lines, without his rifle, is recorded by official war historian C W Bean:  “[Wilfred Harper]. . . was last seen running forward like a schoolboy in a foot race, with all the speed he could compass..."

History Moments: President Truman's Sacking of General Douglas MacArthur

President Harry S Truman meets General Douglas MacArthur, Wake Island, Philippines, 1950

"I fired him because he wouldn't respect the authority of the President. That's the answer to that. I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was…"

President Truman on his removal of General Douglas MacArthur from command in 1951

My father in law, Noel, a history buff who I respect immensely, quoted the above to me in a discussion on history and recommended it to me as a future Bytes item. On looking into it I found that the interest was not just in the quotation but in the facts of the dismissal, the interview that the quote came from and the brutally honest opinions, assessments views expressed by President Truman in that interview.

The following post is lengthy but, I believe, still informative and relevant to today’s political factional intrigues and party power struggles. Witness, for example, the political assassination of Kevin Rudd.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Movie Moments: #11

PRIVATE THOMAS COLE: Why is it us? Why us?

COLOUR SERGEANT BOURNE: Because we're here, lad. Nobody else. Just us.

Zulu (1964)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Bunnies and Bunnykins...

My daughter had a porridge bowl like this, from memory a present at her birth or christening.

Posting yesterday's vintage Easter cards with so many depictions of bunnies and rabbits reminded me of my daughters Bunnykins bowl from when she was a baby and the somewhat risque picture on it.

What? Bunnykins is indecent?

Yes, the plates and cups we used as babies and that we used for our toddlers do have an aspect inappropriate for the kiddies.
Some background before we look at that aspect...
The bunny with eggs is the strongest symbol of Easter, much more than Jesus crucified or Jesus resurrected. Go to the shops and see how many images of the Easter Bunny are displayed with the chocolate eggs, and compare how many images of Jesus are there.

When the early Christian church sought to expand, it frequently adopted local festivals and religious practices and incorporated them within a Christian framework. Easter is one such example:

Movie Moments: #11

ARTHUR: I am your king!

WOMAN: Well, I didn't vote for you.

ARTHUR: You don't vote for kings.

WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then?

ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king!

DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Vintage Easter Cards

Happy Easter, Byters.

Easter is a bit like the kid sister of Christmas: the holidays aren’t as long, there are no gifts except for chocolate eggs and people don’t send cards, although at one time they did. From 1898 to the beginning of WW2 it was popular to send Easter cards and some of them were bizarre and creepy.  Following is a selection of 20 cards to illustrate...

(Click on the pics to enlarge).

A funny looking baby with a giant basket of giant eggs is about to be attacked by monstrous chicks. Either that or the baby is a midget, like Thumbelina.  "Shoo!  Shoo!  Go away!"

Two giant sparrows wearing waistcoats with an egg full of tiny flowers are about to celebrate Easter the best way they know, by getting on the grog.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Movie Moments #10

Judge Chamberlain Haller: Mr. Gambini, the next words out of your mouth better be "guilty" or "not guilty." I don't want to hear commentary, argument, or opinion. I don't want to hear any facts or evidence. If I hear anything other than "guilty" or "not guilty", you'll be in contempt. I don't even want to hear you clear your throat to speak. Now, how do your clients plead?

Vinny Gambini: I think I get the point.

Judge Chamberlain Haller: No, I don't think you do. Now you're officially in contempt of court!
Fred Gwynne (Judge Chamberlain Haller) and Joe Pesci (Vinny Gambini)
My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Some humour for the day...


Three New Zealanders and three Aussies are traveling by train to a  World Cup cricket match in England.

At the station, the three Kiwis each buy a ticket and watch as the three Aussies buy just one ticket between them.

"How are the three of you going to travel on only one ticket, hey?" asks one of the Kiwis.

"Watch and learn," answers one of the Aussies. They all board the train. The Kiwis take their respective seats but all three Aussies cram into a toilet and close the door behind them.

Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the toilet door and says, "Tickets please." The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The Kiwis see this and agree it was quite a clever idea. So after the game, they decide to copy the Aussies on the return trip and save some money (being clever with money, and all that). When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the Aussies don't buy a ticket at all!! "How are you all going to travel without any ticket, hey?" says one perplexed Kiwi. "Watch and learn," answers an Aussie.

When they board the train the three Kiwis cram into a toilet and soon after the three Aussies cram into another nearby. The train departs. Shortly afterwards, one of the Aussies leaves the toilet and walks over to the toilet where the Kiwis are hiding. He knocks on the door and says "Ticket please."

Movie Moments #9

She shivers in the wind like the last leaf on a dying tree. I let her hear my footsteps. She only goes stiff for a moment.

The Salesman: "Care for a smoke?"

The Customer: "Sure. I'll take one. Are you as bored by that crowd as I am?""

The Salesman: "I didn't come here for the party. I came here for you. I've watched you for days. You're everything a man could want. It's not just your face, your figure, or your voice...It's your eyes. All the things I see in your eyes."

The Customer: "What is it you see in my eyes?"

The Salesman: "I see a crazy calm. You’re sick of running. You're ready to face what you have to face. But you don't want to face it alone."

The Customer: "No...I don't want to face it alone."

The wind rises electric. She's soft and warm and almost weightless. Her perfume is sweet promise that brings tears to my eyes. I tell her that everything will be all right; that I'll save her from whatever she's scared and take her far far away. I tell her that I love her.

The silencer makes a whisper of the gunshot. I hold her close until she's gone. I'll never know what she was running from.

I'll cash her cheque in the morning.

Josh Hartnett and Mary Shelton
Sin City (2005)