Friday, September 30, 2011

Quote: Janis Joplin


“Fourteen heart attacks and he had to die in my week.  In MY week.”

-          Janis Joplin (1943-1970),
in an interview in 1969 in New Musical Express, referring to the bumping of her photograph from the cover of Newsweek by the death of ex-President Dwight D Eisenhower.

Ned Kelly: Part 14


The trial:

The trial began on 15 October 1880.  A brief adjournment was granted and it recommenced on 28 October 1880.

The Ned Kelly trial

Notes about the trial:

·         The trial was sandwiched between the Great Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880 and the Melbourne Cup.\

Officials wanted the trial dealt with as speedily as possible.

It was over in two days.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Funny Friday


From Byter Vince:

At dawn the telephone rings:

"Hello, Senor Rod? This issa Ernesto, the caretaker at your country house."

"Ah yes, Ernesto. What can I do for you? Is there a problem?"

"Umm, I just calling to advise you, Senor Rod, that your parrot, he issa dead".

"My parrot? Dead? The one that won the international competition?"

"Si, Senor, this issa the one."

Damn! That's a pity! I spent a small fortune on that bird. What did he die from?"

"He issa eating the rotten meat, Senor Rod."

"Rotten meat? Who the hell fed him rotten meat?"

"Nobody, Senor. He issa eat the meat of the dead horse."

"Dead horse? What dead horse?"

"The thoroughbred, Senor Rod."

"My prize thoroughbred is dead?"

"Yes, Senor Rod, he issa die from all that work pulling the water cart."

"Are you insane? What water cart?"

"The one we issa use to put out the fire, Senor."

"Good Lord! What fire are you talking about, man?"

"The one at your house, Senor! A candle issa fall and the curtains issa caught on fire."

"What the hell? Are you saying that my mansion is destroyed because of a bloody candle?!"

"Yes, Senor Rod."

"But there's electricity at the house! What was the candle for?"

"For the funeral, Senor Rod."


"Your wife's, Senor Rod. She issa showed up very late one night and I issa thinking she issa a thief, so I hit her with your new Ping G15 204g titanium head golf club with the TFC 149D graphite shaft."


"Ernesto, if you broke that bloody driver, you're in deep shit!"

Good Vibrations

(Click on images to enlarge)

I was looking up some vintage advertising for today’s post and came across the above advertisement for the Vibra-Finger.  It is readily apparent to us today that the device is a vibrator, but the advertising of that period wasn’t so forthcoming (no pun intended), such devices then being commonly  disguised as therapeutic massagers.  This has resulted in some interesting ads, a selection of which appear at the end of this post.  They date from the 1890’s through to the 1950’s.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leo's graph


This graph was sent to me by Byter Leo.

In its humouros simplicity, it has a message that is quite profound: that as we age, some of the things of our youth increasingly disappear.

In looking up this graph on the internet, I came across a comment by someone: “This is also representative of my erections.”

That in turn started me thinking about other things that the graph might depict.  In place of “Giving-a-fuck” on the left, one could substitute:
·         Bodily condition
·         Zest for life
·         Partying
·         Belief that one knows everything

It’s a strange thing, how the human body and mind are designed.

We start off as babies, wetting and soiling ourselves, no teeth, no hair, unable to fend for ourselves, unable to speak and then, in old age, the process reverses itself and we work back towards that condition.  The above graph reflects that, a point on the upward graph can be correspondingly found on the downward graph.

"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."
- Martin Luther King Jn

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some quotes: Dolly, Rita and Joan


“If I have one more facelift, I’ll have a beard!”

-          Dolly Parton to Oprah Winfrey, 2003

She has also famously said:

"If I see something saggin', baggin', or draggin', I'm gone have it nipped, tucked, or sucked!"

Another person who is unashamedly pro-cosmetic work is Rita Rudner, who has stated that:

“I don't plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have facelifts until my ears meet.”

Similarly, Joan Rivers:

“I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I'd look like without plastic surgery.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011



There is a rule of grammar that a preposition should not be used to finish a sentence on.  That's what I am writing this for.  It's an interesting story and worth reading about. 

There is also a story that Sir Winston Churchill was once taken to task by a reporter for saying “This is something I will not put up with.”  When the reporter asked how it was that Sir Winston, one of the greatest speakers and writers in the English language, would finish on a proposition, he supposedly responded “Very well then, this is something up with which I will not put.”

Although there are numerous sites that credit that saying to Churchill, no one has ever been able to source where and when he is supposed to have said it.

I mention all of this because of an item in last Saturday’s Column 8 of the Sydney Morning Herald:

''Overheard at the Harold Park Hotel tonight, and luckily I did not have to adjudicate,'' writes William Ryan, publican thereof:
Local: ''Tell me, mate, where you are from?''
Pedant: ''I hail from a part of the world where we do not end a sentence with a preposition.''
Local: ''Sorry. Where you are from, dickhead?''

Ned Kelly:Part 13


Committal for Trial

Ned was treated for his wounds and allowed to recover.

At the same time, Ned’s family sought to raise money for his representation at trial.  In that day there was minimal government legal aid to assist defendants.  There was also a prevailing feeling that it was inevitable that Ned would be convicted and executed.

Ned’s sister, Maggie, and Tom Lloyd, his cousin, engaged solicitor and member of the Victorian Parliament, David Gaunson, to represent Ned. 

David Gaunson (1846-1909), pictured c 1880

Saturday, September 24, 2011

PMO List


Permanent List:
People who tak loudly on their mobile telephones in public

Today's List:
Late night TV evangelists

Ned Kelly: Part 12


Although Ned had been captured, the battle with those in the Glenrowan Inn continued.

1880 newspaper illustration of the siege at Glenrowan

Superintendent Sadleir, in charge of the siege, sent to Melbourne for a cannon but it did not arrive in time.

At 10.00am the police called on innocent persons to leave the hotel.  According to Sadleir, they came out “buzzing like bees.”

At 4.00pm the police decided to burn down the Glenrowan Inn.  As they piled straw against a wall of the hotel, Kate and Maggie Kelly, Ned’s sisters, arrived.  Kate was asked by Superintendent Sadleir what they were doing here and Kate answered that she wanted to see Dan.  She was asked to invite him to surrender.  She turned to Superintendent Sadleir and said angrily “Surrender to you fucking dogs?  No! I would sooner see him burnt alive!”  She was then forced back and the inn was set alight.

Kate Kelly, an excellent horsewoman, arriving at the Inn.

Newspaper item

(Click on image to enlarge)

Ned Kelly: Part 11



What was not known to the police when they began shooting indiscriminately at the Glenrowan Inn was that Ned, Dan, Joe and Steve were wearing the armour that they had fashioned from the plough mouldboards.

(Click on images to enlarge)
Left to right:
armour worn by Ned Kelly, State Library of Victoria;
armour worn by Joseph Byrne, private collection;
armour worn by Dan Kelly, Victoria Police Museum;
armour worn by Steve Hart, Victoria Police Museum.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Funny Friday


The following story is taken from Barry Cohen’s 1997 book Whitlam to Winston, a collection of anecdotes about Australian politics in the period from PM Gough Whitlam to PM John Winston Howard.  The book is unfortunately now out of print but if you can ever get hold of a copy, it is well worth the read.
John Faulkner


Prior to his elevation to the Senate and later to the Ministry for the Environment in the Keating Government, John Faulkner  was an Assistant Secretary of the NSW branch of the ALP.  One of his tasks was to attend branch meetings to sort out their problems.  He was kept very busy.

One branch in which there were endless brawls between the right and the left factions was the inner-city branch of Golden Grove, in the Newtown area.  The members of this branch were, John says, “typical of the old-style Labor Party branches made up of working-class characters.”  A staunch member of the Party’s left wing, John adds, “While they were usually right wing, I used to love them all.  They were great blokes.”

Arriving one evening at about 7.30 to check the books for pre-selection purposes, he realised that something was amiss.  The meeting was under way, but there were long tables covered in white cloths with seven pronged candelabras placed strategically on the tables.  A sophisticated man, Faulkner quickly realised that this was not your average Australian Labor Party branch meeting.

Quote: Dorothy Parker



“I wish I could drink like a lady,

I can take one or two at the most;

Three and I'm under the table,

Four and I'm under the host.”


-  Dorothy Parker


 From Wikipedia:

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the  Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.

Parker went through three marriages (two to the same man) and survived several suicide attempts, but grew increasingly dependent on alcohol. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker." Nevertheless, her literary output and reputation for her sharp wit have endured.

Parker died of a heart attack at the age of 73 in 1967. In her will, she bequeathed her estate to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr foundation. Following King's death, her estate was passed on to the NAACP.  Her executrix, Lillian Hellman, bitterly but unsuccessfully contested this disposition. Her ashes remained unclaimed in various places, including her attorney Paul O’Dwyer’s filing cabinet, for approximately 17 years.

Although Dorothy Parker is well known for many witticisms and quotes, some of which have been posted in Bytes previously, I especially like the anecdote about her receipt, whilst on her honeymoon,  of a telegram from her editor begging her for work that was overdue.  He received her telegram in reply: “Too fucking busy, and vice versa.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Iconic Photographs

(Click on the images to enlarge)

Remember days gone by when smoking was allowed anywhere, when there were no seatbelts in cars and when asbestos was commonplace?  Not only did the term Occupational Health and Safety not exist, there wasn’t even such a concept.  For yunger readers, this wasn’t as far back as the 1930’s, it was in the 60’s and 70’s.

The above photograph however, entitled New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam, was taken in 1932 by Charles C Ebbets during construction of the RCA Building in New York.  Ebbets took the photograph from the 69th floor during the final month of construction.

The photograph depicts 11 men sitting on a girder having lunch, their feet dangling hundreds of metres above the street.  It has become a famous, and an iconic, image of the 20th century.

The photograph is now commonly believed to have been staged by collecting them to sit on the girder, but i is a real photograph of what it shows and the men are real.  There are no safety lines, no nets, no harnesses. 

It has been known for people with vertigo to get dizzy viewing the image.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


A previous item about Robert Benchley quoting a Bible verse as a theatre review reminded me of an item that occasionally pops up on emails.  It first appeared in 2000 as a reproach to conservative evangelical broadcaster Dr Laura Schlessinger, who described gays as “a mistake of nature”, “biological errors” and “freaks”.  Dr Laura, an Orthodox Jew (who later renounced that faith) had repeatedly stated that homosexuality  was an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and that it is therefore not able to be condoned under any circumstances.

The following item was circulated in response to Dr Laura’s selective reliance upon scripture, without allowing for changes in attitudes over time.  As put by  If homosexuality is wrong because it goes against God’s law as outlined in the Bible, why aren’t any number of activities now regarded as innocuous but once regarded as acceptable also offences against God’s law?  How van one part of Leviticus be deemed as etched in stone when other parts have been discarded as archaic?

The authorship remains unknown, although there it has been suggested that it was written by James M Kauffman, a professor at the University of Vrginia.
Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1.     Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2.      I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Some quotes . . .


“For true success ask yourself these questions:


Why not?

Why not me?

Why not now?”

-          James Allen

James Allen (1864 – 1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books, his poetry and for being a pioneer of the self-help movement.

The above is similar in intent and purpose  to two other quotes:

"If not now, when?  If not us, who?"

The above words have been spoken by various politicians – George W Romney, Robert F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama – and is an adaptation of a quotation by Rabbi Hillel (c 110BCE – 10BCE):  "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am 'I'? And if not now, when?"

The second  quote is:

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”

-           Karen Lamb

Some good advice in the above, the hard part is putting it into action.



In today’s social networking age of Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and blogs, the following quotation from a letter in 1946, is even more relevant and apt:

"Now that I am finishing the damned thing I realise that diary-writing isn’t wholly good for one, that too much of it leads to living for one’s diary instead of living for the fun of living as ordinary people do.”

-          James Agate

James Agate (1877 – 1947) was a British diarist and theatre critic.One of Britain’s most influential theatre critics in the period between the wars, his dairies and records were published in a  series of nine volumes under the title of Ego.

In contrast, in the 1937 movie Every Day’s a Holiday, Mae West (1893 – 1980) comments “I always say, keep a diary and some day it’ll keep you.”

Ned Kelly: Part 10


In February 1880 puzzling reports came to the police of the thefts of mouldboards from ploughs.  Although the Kellys were suspected, the police could not work out why the thefts were being committed.

Superintendent Nicholson, now in charge of the hunt for Kelly, believed that Kelly was using them to line a hut where he and the gang  intended to make a last stand. 

Even when an informant, codenamed “Diseased Stock”, advised that the Kellys were fashioning armour, Nicholson responded “Rubbish”.

The truth was beyond the imaginings of both the police and the government officials seeking to bring the Kellys to either justice or to a fatal end.  With police in two States hunting them and with a reward of £8,000 still on offer, Ned and the Kelly Gang had decided to go on the offensive.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Ned Kelly: Part 9


Aaron Sheritt:

For 17 months after the Jerilderie robbery and escapade the gang stayed hidden. 

The police disguised themselves as miners, prospectors, swagmen, horse dealers and commercial travellers but it made no difference, their moves were notified to the Kellys in advance each time.

Superintendent Hare stated in evidence to the 1881 Royal Commission “The Kelly family are the most prolific family I have ever met in my life  . . . in every part of the colony the Kellys had a cousin or aunt or something.”

Kelly sympathisers provided the gang with information, food and safe houses.

The police used spies and informants but many were only pseudo-informants who were secretly assisting the Kellys with information about the police.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Funny Friday


A certain psychiatrist had fallen into the habit, each day after work, to stop in the local bar for a drink to relax. Being a man of strange tastes, his favourite drink was a chicory daiquiri.

Dick, the bartender, had only this one customer who requested this strange concoction, but because the doctor was a regular, he kept a supply of chicory, in the refrigerator. The doctor always stopped in at the same time every day, so Dick was able to prepare the drink ahead of time and have it ready and waiting for this regular customer.

One day, as Dick was preparing for the doctors arrival, he discovered he had run out of chicory. He was frantic to find a solution to his problem. Then he noticed a bottle of hickory flavoring on the shelf. In the hopes the doctor would not notice, he prepared the drink and slid it onto the bar just as his customer sat down.

After the Doctor took the first sip, he asked "Is this a Chicory daiquiri Dick?"

"No,” said Dick, “It's a hickory daiquiri, Doc!"

On a golf tour in Ireland, Tiger Woods drives his BMW into a petrol station in a remote part of the Irish countryside.

The pump attendant, who knows nothing about golf, greets him in a typical Irish manner completely unaware of the identity of the golfing pro.

"Top of the mornin' to yer, sir," says the attendant.
Tiger nods a quick "hello" and bends forward to pick up the nozzle. As he does so, two tees fall out of his shirt pocket onto the ground.

"What are those?" asks the attendant.

"They're called tees," replies Tiger.

"Well, what on the good Earth are they for?" inquires the Irishman.

"They're for resting my balls on when I'm driving," says Tiger.

"Feckin Jaysus," says the Irishman, "BMW tinks of everything!"