Thursday, February 28, 2019

Thought for the Day

Bytes Bits


Bytes Bits – Random items, thoughts and jottings 

Cobwebs and spider webs: 

When I left home this morning I walked into a face full of spider web. I admit that when it comes to spiders, snakes and the like I am a big girl, they creep me out. Saying that is not PC and is technically incorrect because Bindi Irwin is a girl and she handles snakes and spiders. 

Which started me wondering: Where do cobwebs come from? Do spiders have anything to do with it? 

Some comments: 

-  The majority of cobwebs are actually formed from abandoned spider webs. 

-  Spiders, build sticky webs for catching prey but over time dust accumulates on the web and the spider has to abandon it and build a new one. 

-  That’s the reason why you never see a spider on a cobweb, even though the spider created it. 

-  The Old English word for spider was atorcoppe, with ator meaning ‘poison’ and coppe meaning ‘head’. In the Middle English the word spider (originally spydyr ‘the spinner’) became the more popular word, but coppeweb, which became cobweb, was still retained to designate the spider’s web. 

Donald Trump’s hair and the Oscars: 

The set for the Oscars this year was created by Broadway production designer David Korins. According to Korins. It represents “inclusion and humanity, femininity and beauty,” but a lot of people instead saw Donald Trump’s hair. 

According to Korins:
“I don’t see that, but I think that people see in artistic endeavours all sorts of things. You look at paintings and sculpture and architecture and people see what they want to see. The world is filled with hard lines and straight lines and us-and-thems, and I really wanted people to feel like this was an asymmetrical, warm, undulating art installation that was installed in this theatre.”
So what do you think? . . . 


Yelling “Geronimo” when jumping out of a plane:

Today I found out

In the 1940s, the U.S. Army was testing out the feasibility of having platoons of soldiers parachute from air planes. One of the first units to attempt to group jump out of a plane was located in Fort Benning, Georgia. On the night before the group was set to make their first jump, they all got together and went out for a night on the town, including going to see a movie and generally getting as drunk as possible afterward at a bar. The movie they saw is reported to have been the 1939 film, Geronimo, though that isn’t known for sure. What is known though was that it was a film featuring a character representing the Apache, Geronimo; so it’s assumed it was that film as the dates more or less line up. 

In any event, while out carousing after the movie, a certain Private by the name of Aubrey Eberhardt was acting tough about the jump that was to happen the next day, making out that it wasn’t a big deal and he wasn’t nervous about it. His fellow soldiers called B.S. on him and one of them reportedly exclaimed “You’ll be so scared, you won’t remember your own name!” To which he replied, according to Major Gerard M. Devlin, “All right, dammit! I tell you jokers what I’m gonna do! To prove to you that I’m not scared out of my wits when I jump, I’m gonna yell “Geronimo” loud as hell when I go out that door tomorrow!” 

This is possibly in reference to the story that the Native American Geronimo was given that name by Mexican soldiers after incidents where Geronimo, showing complete disregard for his own personal safety, attacked armed Mexican soldiers with nothing but a knife, surviving each of those attacks despite being constantly shot at. The name stems from the soldiers yelling and pleading to Saint Jerome for help as they faced Geronimo. 

The next day, right after Eberhardt jumped out the plane door, he kept his promise and yelled at the top of his lungs “Geronimo!” and added some Native American mimicking war whoops, just for good measure. This tradition of making a ridiculous exclamation as loud as possible in the face of death right after jumping out of a plane (these early paratroopers didn’t exactly end up having the best survival rates) caught on with the rest of Eberhardt’s unit and they all began exclaiming “Geronimo” when they jumped. 

This became so popular that when the Army christened the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion in 1941, which was the first combat ready parachute unit, they put “Geronimo” on their insignia and most of the troops would yell it as they jumped from the planes. This practice eventually caught on with the general public thanks to extensive news media coverage of these parachuting troops, jumping out of a plane obviously being something of a novelty at the time. 

Bonus Facts: 

The actual Native America Geronimo lived from 1829-1909 and was an Apache. During his life, he became famous for fighting against both Mexico and the United States as both expanded into Apache lands, Geronimo led a group of Apache warriors on various raids, though he wasn’t actually a Chief, as commonly is stated. 

Geronimo’s mother, his first wife, and his three children were killed in 1858 when Mexican soldiers attacked a group of Apache, which included Geronimo and his family, while the men of the group were off getting supplies in a nearby town. He later married several more times and had many other children with his various wives, several of which, both his wives and the children, were killed or taken from him as well. 

Geronimo eventually died in 1909 at the age of 80 after being thrown from a horse. He was found the next morning still alive, but not well due to lying out all night in the cold (February) and eventually died of pneumonia. 

The gun Geronimo was carrying when he finally surrendered, a Winchester Model 1876, is on display at West Point. His knife is on display at the Fort Sill Museum. 

The 1939 film, Geronimo, starred none other than Chief Thundercloud as Geronimo. Thundercloud is most famous for his role as Tonto in The Lone Ranger and The Lone Ranger Rides Again. 

Another main actor in Geronimo was Andy Devine, who stretched his acting career from 1926 all the way to 1977, playing various roles consistently until his death in 1977 (over 200 roles between TV, film, and radio). Devine is one of the very few people to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, receiving one for radio and one for TV. 

Interestingly, in the context of this article, Devine also was a pilot and owned a flying school that helped train pilots during World War II.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Thought for the Day


 125+ Year Old Rhododendron “Tree” In Canada ((technically a shrub). 

144-Year-Old Wisteria In Japan 

Another pic of above Wisteria

Japanese Maple In Portland, Oregon 

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” 
― Martin Luther 

Antarctic Beech Draped In Hanging Moss In Oregon 

Blooming Cherry Trees in Bonn, Germany 

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson 

A lovely tree in Sydney.  Hey, that’s my house! 

Angel Oak In John’s Island In South Carolina 

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” 
― Warren Buffett 

Flamboyant Tree. Brazil 

Dragonblood trees. Yemen 
(Btw, the dragonblood tree earned its name from its crimson red sap, which is used as a dye and was used as a violin varnish, an alchemical ingredient, and a folk remedy for various ailments.) 

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” 
― Chinese proverb 

The President, Third-Largest Giant Sequoia Tree In The World, California 

Maple tree tunnel, Oregon 

Rainbow Eucalyptus In Kauai, Hawaii 

Jacarandas in Cullinan, South Africa

“Do you know that even when you look at a tree and say, `That is an oak tree', or `that is a banyan tree', the naming of the tree, which is botanical knowledge, has so conditioned your mind that the word comes between you and actually seeing the tree? To come in contact with the tree you have to put your hand on it and the word will not help you to touch it.” 
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

Baobab Trees In Madagascar 

Jabuticaba, a Brazilian grape tree.
The fruit grows directly from the trunk and branches of the tree.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” 
- Henry David Thoreau

Monday, February 25, 2019

Thought for the Day

The Hollywood Sign

Now that the Oscars hype is over, here is some trivia about the Hollywood sign . . . 

The sign was erected in 1923 and originally read "HOLLYWOODLAND." Its purpose was to advertise the name of a new segregated, whites-only housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. The sign was studded with around 4,000 light bulbs and flashed in segments: "HOLLY," "WOOD," and "LAND" lit up individually, and then the whole. Cost of the project was $21,000, equivalent to $310,000 in 2018. 

The sign was intended to last only a year and a half, but after the rise of American cinema in Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the sign became an internationally recognized symbol and was left there. 

Over the course of more than half a century, the sign, designed to stand for only 18 months, sustained extensive damage and deterioration. 

During the early 1940s, Albert Kothe (the sign's official caretaker) caused an accident that destroyed the letter H. Kothe, driving while inebriated, was nearing the top of Mount Lee when he lost control of his vehicle and drove off the cliff directly behind the H. While Kothe was not injured, his 1928 Ford Model A was destroyed, as was the original 50 foot (15.2 m) tall illuminated letter H. 

In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce began a contract with the City of Los Angeles Parks Department to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that "LAND" be removed to spell "Hollywood" and reflect the district, not the "Hollywoodland" housing development. The Parks Department dictated that all subsequent illumination would be at the Chamber's expense, so the Chamber opted not to replace the lightbulbs. The 1949 effort gave it new life, but the sign's unprotected wood and sheet metal structure continued to deteriorate. By the 1970s, the first O had splintered and broken, resembling a lowercase u, and the third O had fallen down completely, leaving the severely dilapidated sign reading "HuLLYWO D." 

In 1978, in large part because of the public campaign to restore the landmark by Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, the Chamber set out to replace the severely deteriorated sign with a more permanent structure. Nine donors gave US$27,777.77 each (totaling US$249,999.93) to sponsor replacement letters, made of steel supported by steel columns on a concrete foundation. 

The new letters were 45 feet (13.7 m) tall and ranged from 31 to 39 feet (9.4 to 11.9 m) wide. The new version of the sign was unveiled on November 11, 1978, as the culmination of a live CBS television special commemorating the 75th anniversary of Hollywood's incorporation as a city. 

Refurbishment began again in November 2005, as workers stripped the letters back to their metal base and repainted them white. 

In September 1932, 24-year-old actress Peg Entwistle committed suicide by climbing a workman's ladder up to the top of the 'H' and jumping to her death. 


A steam shovel is at work preparing the land for the Hollywood Sign in 1923 

Two ladies are suspended high above the Hollywood Sign as they ride on the shovel from Western Construction Co.’s working steam shovel. 

The dedication of the Hollywoodland Sign in 1923 

“Hollywoodland” sign with the first letter fallen to the side, 1940s 

The original Hollywood Sign on August 8, 1978, shortly before it was demolished and replaced 

The Hollywood Sign in serious deterioration during the 1970s 

The unveiling of the new Hollywood Sign in 1978 

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council member Tom LaBonge, and Chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust Chris Baumgart help paint the sign in 2005 

Millicent Lilian "Peg" Entwistle (5 February 1908 – 16 September 1932) was a British stage and screen actress. She began her stage career in 1925, appearing in several Broadway productions. She appeared in only one film, Thirteen Women, which was released after her death. Entwistle gained notoriety after she jumped to her death from atop the "H" on the Hollywoodland sign in September 1932, at the age of 24. The suicide note she left read: “I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.”

Quote for the Day

Reafers Write, and I my Robert Frost


From Diane M, in response to the item about the Little Free Library . . . 
Dear Otto  
Yes , I love the Bytes stories never knowing what you have for the day for me to read. 
It so interesting what and how you find this. 
Like the recent subject of the free reading books or exchange. 
I didn’t know about this, this is so great for kids and/or poor families which we also have here in Holland. 
Flying out on Saturday "Down Under "spending time with sons, grandchildren and greatgrandchilden. 
Who would have thought that I would have such a big family 29 years ago when I moved back to Holland. 
Life has many surprises. 
Keep up the good Bytes, will receive them on my Ipad in Aus. 
Take care 
Thanks Diane. 

From Graham E in response to Funny Friday not getting posted for some reason last Friday week and I commented that I hoped readers would not get it twice when I posed it again the next day . . . 
Hi Mr O, 
Hopefully it was an unintentional gesture that your last corn corner joke was about the word reiterate, and not to get an extra laugh about Bytes being sent twice ! 
Mr G 
(Graham accompanied his comment with the following) . . .

Thanks Graham.

From Charlie Z in response to the Robert Frost poem Mending Wall: 
Otto - If my aging memory serves me still ..... I think Robert Frost spoke at John Kennedy's inauguration. And I recall the "Mending Wall" poem from high school in Western Pennsylvania, at a time when they still taught poetry, and English literature, in high school. 

Thanks for the Bytes! And the art associated with today's is terrific! 

Charlie Z 
Thanks Charlie. 

From Steve M in response to the portraits of persons from India: 
Loved the photography from India in today’s Bytes, Otto. We have been to India twice, and would go back tomorrow if the opportunity arose. The place is an enigma. It’s full of amazing contrasts, colours, smells, texture, optimism, pain, sadness, pride (misplaced and genuine), unbelievable food, good old fashioned bureaucracy, hypocrisy and some of the most truly wonderful, fascinating people on earth. 

For Byters who have never been, go; for Byters who don’t want to go, you are missing out! 
Thanks, Steve. 

Carlie and readers, some more Robert Frost: 

The following poem, one of Robert Frost’s most popular, was posted by me in 2010 without comments. It is worth a second outing . . . 

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening 

Whose woods these are I think I know. 
His house is in the village, though; 
He will not see me stopping here 
To watch his woods fill up with snow. 

My little horse must think it queer 
To stop without a farmhouse near 
Between the woods and frozen lake 
The darkest evening of the year. 

He gives his harness bells a shake 
To ask if there is some mistake. 
The only other sounds the sweep 
Of easy wind and downy flake. 

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep. 

- Robert Frost (1874-1963) 

From wikipedia: 

Frost wrote the poem in June 1922 at his house in Shaftsbury, Vermont. He had been up the entire night writing the long poem "New Hampshire" and had finally finished when he realized morning had come. He went out to view the sunrise and suddenly got the idea for "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". He wrote the new poem "about the snowy evening and the little horse as if I'd had a hallucination" in just "a few minutes without strain". 

In the early morning of November 23, 1963, Sid Davis of Westinghouse Broadcasting reported the arrival of President John F. Kennedy's casket to the White House. As Frost was one of the President's favorite poets, Davis concluded his report with a passage from this poem but was overcome with emotion as he signed off:
I was broadcasting the arrival with my Westinghouse colleague Ann Corrick. I had covered Kennedy from his 1960 election through the debacle of his Bay of Pigs decision, his triumph in the Cuban Missile Crisis, to Dallas. Now he was gone. I chose, unwisely, to close the broadcast with a verse from Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” a poem often quoted by President Kennedy at the end of his speeches during his presidential campaign:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

In tears, I was unable to finish it. 
At the funeral of former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, on October 3, 2000, his eldest son Justin rephrased the last stanza of this poem in his eulogy: 
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. He has kept his promises and earned his sleep."

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Quote for the Day

Funny Exam Answers

I have previously seen some of the following inspired exam answers but have been doubtful as to whether they were all legit or whether some have been created by other than kids answering exam questions. I am posting them now because I have decided that they are entertaining, however they have been created . . .