Monday, March 31, 2014


Some odds, ends and personals.

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Reader comments . . . 

From Sue in respect of the origin of the expression “Jaywalker”:

Again, an American reference from my Dad, the Jay is a common bird that chatters and mobs akin to the noisy minor bird in Australia. They can be a nuisance if they take over a bird-feeder as they scare off other birds. This constant talking was seen to be the mark of a foolish person, who was then called a Jay. The young birds in particular could be distracted by shiny objects, so again an easily duped person was then called a Jay. Their foraging pattern is to skip and jump in apparently random fashion and this (my Dad told me) was why a foolish person who walked across the road in a random easily distracted fashion was a "Jay Walker"

Jays can mimic human and industrial noises and feature in a lot of folk songs and Blues

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From Roberta in respect of the post about the loss of family pet Lucy:

Hi guys,

Very beautiful Otto, made me cry!

Have you watched the movie “Dean Spanley”? It’s a wonderful, funny and sad tale about the life of dogs. I you haven’t seen it, I recommend you all watch it together...

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Whilst looking up something on the internet last week, I came across a very simple cartoon/graphic or whateve you woukld call it that struck a responsive chord with me.  I'm a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to computers, I confess that I prefer a paper diary to anything electronic, I prefer paper books to read and I find a pen faster than a computer in making notes.  This is the item I am referring to:

This resulted in some detours on the issue of pencils and a couple of them are printed below.

This is also simple but carries a lot of truth and good advice:

A little bit of risque pencil humour:

An item about pencils that had me laughing was the following news report and a modern day update.

The news report, from 12 December 1998, is as follows:

Slogan Causes Pencil Recall 
A company has recalled a batch of pencils after a fourth-grade student pointed out an embarrassing message that appeared after he sharpened his pencil. The pencils carry the slogan ''Too Cool to Do Drugs.'' But the student noticed that when the pencils are sharpened and get shorter, the message becomes ''Cool to Do Drugs,'' then simply ''Do Drugs.''

As a result of the discovery by Kodi Mosier, a 10-year-old student at Ticonderoga Elementary School, the company, the Bureau for At-Risk Youth, based in Plainview, N.Y., recalled the pencils.  
''We're actually a little embarrassed that we didn't notice that sooner,'' Darlene Clair, a spokeswoman, told The Plattsburgh Press-Republican.  
A new batch of pencils will have the message written in the opposite direction, so when they are sharpened, they will read ''Too Cool To Do'' and finally ''Too Cool.'' 
- New York Times

The modern update is that a business by the name of brrybnds has re-released the pencils and they can be purchased online:

And a bit of pencil and eraser philosophy to conclude:

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Friday, March 28, 2014

No Bytes this weekend . . ..

What, no Bytes this weekend???

Yes, that's right.  

I'll be away from my computer for a few days but Bytes will return on Monday.

Enjoy Funny Friday below.



Funny Friday

My waking up with a mother of a migraine during the week sets the scene for this Funny Friday . . .

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A man comes to the doctor desperate for relief from chronic migraine headaches. When the doctor takes a look at his medical history, he discovers that his poor patient has tried practically every therapy known to man for his migraines and STILL no improvement. "Listen," says the doctor. "I have migraines, too ... and I'm going to give you some personal advice. There are no clinical studies to back this up, but this is what I do for my own migraines, and it works for me. When I feel a migraine coming on, I go home, take a nice hot bath and soak for a while. Then I have my wife sponge me off with the hottest water I can stand ... especially around the forehead. This helps a little. Then I get out of the tub, take her into the bedroom, and even if my head is killing me, I force myself to have sex ... and this almost always cures my headache. Give it a try and come back in six weeks."

Six weeks later, the patient returns with a huge grin. "Doc! I took your advice and it works! It REALLY WORKS! I've had migraines for 17 years and this is the FIRST time anyone has ever helped me!"

"Well," says the physician, "I'm glad I could help."

"By the way, Doc," the patient adds, "You have a really nice house."

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A police officer, though scheduled for all-night duty at the station, was relieved of duty early and arrived home four hours ahead of schedule, at 2 in the morning.

Not wanting to wake his wife, he undressed in the dark, crept into the bedroom and started to climb into bed. Just then, his wife sleepily sat up and said, "Honey, would you go down to the all-night drug store on the next block and get me some aspirin? I've got a splitting headache."

"Certainly, honey," he said. Feeling his way across the dark room, he got dressed and walked over to the drug store. As he arrived, the pharmacist looked up in surprise, "Say," said the pharmacist, "I know you - aren't you a policeman? Officer Fenwick, right?"

"Yeah, sure. So?" said the officer.

"Well, what the heck are you doing all dressed up like the Fire Chief?"

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The doctor said, "Joe, the good news is I can cure your headaches. The bad news is that it will require castration. You have a very rare condition, which causes your testicles to press on your spine and the pressure creates one hell of a headache. The only way to relieve the pressure is to remove the testicles."

Joe was shocked and depressed. He wondered if he had anything to live for. He had no choice but to go under the knife.

When he left the hospital, he was without a headache for the first time in 20 years, but he felt like he was missing an important part of himself. As he walked down the street, he realized that he felt like a different person. He could make a new beginning and live a new life.

He saw a men's clothing store and thought, "That's what I need... a new suit."
He entered the shop and told the salesman, "I'd like a new suit."

The elderly tailor eyed him briefly and said, "Let's see... size 44 long."

Joe laughed, "That's right, how did you know?"

"Been in the business 60 years!" the tailor said.

Joe tried on the suit, it fit perfectly. As Joe admired himself in the mirror,
the salesman asked, "How about a new shirt?"

Joe thought for a moment and then said, "Sure."

The salesman eyed Joe and said, "Let's see, 34 sleeves and 16-1/2 neck."

Joe was surprised, "That's right, how did you know?

"Been in the business 60 years."

Joe tried on the shirt, and it fit perfectly.

Joe walked comfortably around the shop, and the salesman asked, "How about some new underwear?"

Joe thought for a moment and said, "Sure."

The salesman said, "Let's see... size 36."

Joe laughed, "Ah ha! I got you. I've worn a size 34 since I was 18 years old."

The salesman shook his head, "You can't wear a size 34. A size 34 would press your testicles up against the base of your spine and give you one hell of a headache."

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Corn Corner:

I explained to the doctor, "Whenever I harvest our cornfields, I get a really bad headache."

"It's a migraine," he explained.

"No, it's not, it's mine - and why the fuck have you started speaking Italian?"

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Marble and Veils

Wondering what I would post today, I checked my emails after friend Dino had been working on my computer remotely.   One of the emails was an onsend about beautifully crafted veiled marble statues.  The work is amazing so I set it out below:

This sculpture below, “The Veiled Virgin”, is the work of an Italian artist of the nineteenth century, Giovanni Strazza. 

Think of the epic difficulty of modelling a veil on a face of a material that is among the toughest on the planet, marble (mineral hardness 3 - Friedrich Mohs scale ) . Another problem is that marble has nothing added. It is a sculpture made ​​by subtracting 100 % . 

There are large sculptures that created beautiful marble veils:

Think of the level of difficulty to carve without breaking it:

This is a monument to the father of Prince Raimondo Sangro Antonio (1685-1757). The Italian name of the monument Disinganno is often translated as "disappointment", but not in the conventional sense of it, and "Freedom of the Spell " (after 1757). It is by Franschesko Kvirolo, the most famous of his works and is made of a single piece of marble and pumice. Kvirolo was the only Neapolitan master who accepted the challenge . Other great sculptors wouldn’t, believing that the stone break into pieces .

Wonder at the texture of skin in the following sculpture by Lorenzo Berdini , which depicts the abduction of Persephone. Look at the finger pressure on the skin. 

The sculptor was only 23 years old when he made it in 1621.

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I had a quick look at some other examples and came across a comment that the depiction of veiled women was a technique called "wet drapery" in English. It was used to overcome taboos on portraying naked women, only men being allowed to be so portrayed.

I don't know that I accept that veiling of women in marble statues was the equivalent of a wet t shirt, notwithstanding that some of the above statues embody an eroticism that they would not have if unveiled.  

Some other examples of veiled statues:

The Veiled Christ, Museo Cappella Sanservo

Detail from The Veiled Christ

By Pietro Rossi

Raffaele Monti — The Sleep of Sorrow and the Dream of Joy

Undine Rising from the Waters, by Chauncey Bradley

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Some Random Facts

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The Milky Way name comes from the bright whitish band of light that is visible in the sky at night away from city lights. This was named by the Greeks as: "Galaxies Kuklos" or The Milky Circle. The Romans changed the name to "Via Lactea" or The Milky Road. Today it is "The Milky Way." It was not until the middle of the 18th century that people first came up with the idea that The Milky Way was actually a galaxy of stars. 

The Milky Way bar was created in 1923 by Frank C Mars and originally manufactured in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The name and taste were taken from a famed malted milk drink of the day and not the stellar Milky Way, as many contend.

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The word “jaywalk” comes from the word “jay”, meaning inexperienced but also having come to be slang for a rural a rural resident, assumed by many urbanites to be stupid, slightly unintelligent, or perhaps simply na├»ve. 

When cars started using the roads, the car companies mounted publicity campaigns to alert pedestrians to the dangers of vehicles on the road, using ridicule to keep pedestrians off them:

1937 poster

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Editor Bennett Cerf challenged Dr. Seuss to write a book using no more than 50 different words. The result? Green Eggs and Ham.

First published in 1960, it became the fourth-best selling English-language children's hardcover book of all time.

In 1999, the National Education Association (NEA) conducted an online survey of children and teachers, seeking the 100 most popular children's books. On the children's list, Green Eggs and Ham was ranked third, just above another Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat. Teachers ranked it fourth. It ranked fourth again among teachers in a 2007 NEA poll. It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.

The fifty words used are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.


A character known as "Sam-I-Am" pesters an unnamed character, who also serves as the story's narrator, to sample a dish of green eggs and ham, to which the unnamed character refuses, responding throughout the story, "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am." He continues to repeat this while Sam follows him, persuading him to sample them in various locations from a house to a box and a car to a tree and a train, in the dark or the rain, and on a boat, all at which the unnamed character still refuses responding, "I would not like them here (Current location) or there (Previous location). I would not like them anywhere!" and with a variety of animals from a mouse in the house to a fox in the box and a goat who tags along on the car and the train). Finally, the unnamed character gives into Sam's pestering and samples the green eggs and ham, which he certainly does like after all in the end and happily responds "I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am."

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sony World Photography Awards, 2014, Part 2

Continuing a selection of announced winnersand placegetters in the above awards in various categories, overall winners to still be announced.  Captions are by the photographers.

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Winner, Nature and Wildlife, Open Competition: I came out of my car for a quick shot in the snow. The country lanes were slippery. I walked through the cold snow to get to the Pony. When I got there I realized that I had the wrong lens on my camera for the effect that I wanted. So I went back, changed lenses and made the picture, and came closer than I wanted.

Winner, Spain, National Award: Young Mohammed Salam - in the foreground - travels regularly on iron ore hoppers through the Mauritanian Sahara, from the open-pit hematite mine center of Zouerat, to the commercial port of Nouadhibou. The journey is precarious and exhausting, but free transportation of goods provide him and his colleagues with a way to make a living. The so called "Sahara Express" was completed in 1963, three years after Mauritania's independence as a french colony, and it is considered one of the longest trains in the world. Exceeding 2.5 km long, it runs daily almost 700 Km from the deep desert to the Atlantic coast and it takes about 17 hours.

3rd Place, Germany, National Awards: Pilgrims and devotees cross pontoon bridges at the Maha Kumbh Mela - the largest spiritual gathering on the planet, held every 12 years in India.

Winner, Australia, National Awards: Cormorant fisherman just after dawn on the Li River near Xingping, Guangxi Province, China.

Winner, Low Light, Open Competition: Bucharest, Turda Blvd., 41 tram station. As the weather got worse in the evening, I hesitated to use the camera before. Before i spotted one interesting situation, with pedestrians walking against car lights, on a zebra crossing. The snow had become chaotic as sharp cold wind became annoying. Cars where barely advancing, the light was difficult, the woman with umbrella was standing there petrified. I pulled out the camera and took the picture, handheld, marking the first snow of the year.

Third Place, Argentina, National Awards: Ruins of Villa Epecuen in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. In 1985, a dam burst, causing the salty Lago Epecuen to flood the town to a depth of 10 meters. The village was never rebuilt.

Third Place, France, National Awards: Young members of the Saa tribe in Ratap Village, Vanuatu.

Winner, Netherlands, National Award: Unfortunately you don't have the winters anymore you used to have in the 17th century. In the beginning of 2013 I was lucky with a short time of winter. I had the idea to take a picture of an old Dutch landscape and was looking for a perfect location: which I found in Dwarsgracht, a small authentic village. Looking for the perfect light I'd been waiting for hours for the golden glow. I decided to find a high position, which I found in a tree for which I had to borrow a ladder from the locals to climb the tree. So I had a good view on the ice when the last skaters past by, they made the picture complete.

Third Place, Singapore, National Awards: Built in the 60s, Jalan Bukit Ho Swee houses some of the oldest Public Housing Blocks in Singapore. More than 80% of Singapore's entire population lives in public housing. industrial modernist cubes of monotony, punctuated by varied paraphernalia - potted plants, religious altars, chained bikes, racks of wet clothes marking and defining personal spaces; individual homes in a patterned whole, like intricate tilework. Culture is not maintained through mere inheritance, something left over from our forefathers which we struggle to keep relevant. But from the banal, the mundane, the ritual, we create culture, variation, and somehow, coherence.

Second Place, Turkey, National Awards: A muddy face from the mud bath going into the lake.

inner, Youth, Portraits: The photograph was taken during my journey to China in November 2013 with my best friend. The photograph was taken while we were on a night train. We stayed there for 24 hours, so I was in a confined space for a quite limited amount of time. I got up early in the morning to get out and to capture the atmosphere you could find amongst the travelers. And then I found that girl who attracted my attention from the very first moment I saw her. Somehow, she perfectly conveyed a sense of the atmosphere that was present amongst the many travelers on the train. Most of them were waiting eagerly to reach their individual destinations, many of them looking out of the window and watching the world pass by as the train sped through the country, completely captivated by the landscape flying by.

Winner, Split Second, Open Competition: This image was captured in a village in Kuantan, Pahang. Malaysia, with a high shutter speed, using available light only.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Miscellany - some odds, ends and personals . . .

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Some reader comments during the past week:

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My comments about the loss of a loved family pet touched a chord with a number of persons, especially those who have experienced similar loss. As I said previously, "she was just a dog” is not apt. Here is a selection of comments received:

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From Tom C:

Thanks for sharing your bytes about Lucy. The quotes on dogs in your bytes today are so true about dogs. What I observed in my lifetime is those people that do not like dogs are definitely not complete or normal in some way. I also learned that by coming from work and just patting your dog is therapy for one's soul. It releases stress and makes you wanted, especially when you’rein the dumps.


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From Doug:

Hi Otto,

I’m very sorry to hear about Lucy’s death. She had a very good innings, but it’s always disappointing when a beloved pet dies. It sounds like she had a very good life and died in as positive a manner as possible.

Here’s an article by one of my favourite writers following the death of their dog Jasper ->

Best wishes to your wife Kate -- it’s a difficult time now.



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From Sue B:

Dear Otto,Kate ,Thomas & Elliot, I`m feeling your loss today ,no words can help the pain ,16 wonderful years of joy ,love , devotion & companionship ,she may have moved on from her old body but the spirit will be strong & the Rottweillers will still freeze as they pass your front fence for years to come ...bless your dear` little Lucy ` now in doggie heaven ,thinking of you all with love ,

sincerely ,susan lilly & teddy 

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From Robyn T (Robyn has featured previously in Bytes in respect of her art works):


I was saddened to hear about the passing of your long time family member Lucy. After so many years of companionship it is a big loss. This I know because we had our last rotty Crow for 15 years and his partner in matters canine, Les, the bull terrier for 16 years. We assuaged our sadness after bidding farewell to Les by finding a beautiful rotty, Georg, through Hunter Pet rescue and she has now been in the family for 4 years. I've attached photos of each of them-you may notice they bob up again and again in my paintings. Les in particular spent countless hours at the foot of my easel as I laboured away. She was very keen on classical music.

Since Lucy had a bit of a thing about rottys I'm sure she and Crow and Les are getting to know each other.


Robyn T

Robyn's pics:




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Thanks to all those who sent messages.

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The post on St Patrick’s Day, which featured some Irish humour, elicited a contribution from Sue P:

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Leadlight business proprietor Kerrie commented on the post about the Pink Mosque:

Thanks Otto,

I have now added Iran to the list of must see places. These windows are amazing. However I can’t say I appreciate the Banksy street art. I am not one of his biggest fans. I am too much of a traditionalist where art is concerned.


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Mr Farouk’s letterboxed card inspired a few more observations from Kieran:

There are so many great things about Mr Farouk’s card! 

Why not 9.30 – 7.30? 

Why does he have 2 mobile numbers? 

And what is a specialist unhappy marriage?

As always Otto, great work. 



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Caution: Risque content follows:

Truman Capote

I have previously posted a ribald anecdote about Truman Capote. Recently I came across a longer version in its original source format and it had me laughing all over again. 

Tennessee Williams

The following paragraphs are from "Tennessee: Cry of the Heart, An Intimate Memoir of Tennessee Williams" by Dotson Rader (1985):

Tennessee went on to talk about the one time Truman came to Key West.  
"It was two years ago. he had flown to Key West from Mexico, where he was to stay with Mrs. [Lee] Radiwill but left in a hurry because the mosquitoes were terrible. So he came to Key West from the Yucatan. He had never been on the island before, and I suspect that he never will be there again. He was robbed the first night, losing all his credit cards, his address book, and about two thousand dollars. He said that he wasn't in his hotel room when the robbery occured, but the police found no evidence of forced entry. I think he was cleaned out by some street boy he invited home for a private session!"
"Truman came to Key West because he sold excerpts of his book [Answered Prayers] to Esquire, he made one of the conditions of the contract that the editor of the magazine [Don Erickson] had to fly to Key West to pick up the manuscript. He did that because Hemingway used to make Arnold [Gingrich, the editor/founder of Esquire] come to Key West to edit his stories before they were published. Truman was not about to get one thing less than Hemingway."  
"One night Truman, Jimmy Kirkwood, and a friend of Truman's, I, and some other men went to dinner. His friend was very drunk. The restaurant was full of tourists in double-knit suits, and since it was quite late, most of them were as tipsy as Truman's boyfriend. Some distance away, at a round table, sat three couples. Truman noticed them staring at us, and he said, "Watch out! They'll be coming over for autographs!" And a few minutes later, one of the women at the table got up and came over, carrying a menu. She asked Truman to autograph the menu. He did. She left, and a few minutes later her husband came to our table and glared at Truman. 
"Are you Truman Capote?" And Truman said, "I was this morning!" And the man unzipped his pants, and pulled out his cock. He said, holding it in the palm of his hand, "Can you put your signature on this? And Truman looked down at the cock, and up again, and he said. "I don't know about my signature. But I can initial it!"

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