Thursday, October 31, 2019

Thought for the Day

100 Greatest Replies: 5-8

As I have commented previously, some of the items below (but not all) have appeared in Bytes before, However I cannot omit them if listing the 100 Greatest Replies.

5. Coral Browne:

Coral Browne (1913 – 1991) was an Australian-American stage and screen actress. Her extensive theatre credits included Broadway productions of Macbeth (1956), The Rehearsal (1963) and The Right Honourable Gentleman (1965). She won the 1984 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC TV film An Englishman Abroad (1983). Her film appearances included Auntie Mame (1958), The Killing of Sister George (1968), The Ruling Class (1972) and Dreamchild (1985). 

Browne married actor Philip Pearman in 1950 and remained married to him until his death in 1964. In 1974 she married actor Vincent Price and remained married to him until her death. She had become a naturalized United States citizen in 1987 as a gift to Price who later converted to Catholicism for her. Browne died on 29 May 1991 in Los Angeles, California, from breast cancer; she was 77. She had no children from her marriages. Price died two years later.

While touring the Soviet Union in a Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (later the Royal Shakespeare Company) production of Hamlet in 1958, she met the spy Guy Burgess. This meeting became the basis of Alan Bennett's script for the television movie An Englishman Abroad (1983) in which Browne played herself, apparently including some of her conversations with Burgess. On the BFI TV 100, a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute, chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programs of any genre ever to have been screened, An Englishman Abroad was listed at No. 30.


When a Hollywood writer told Browne that the screenplay for An Englishman Abroad wasn't particularly great, she spat back, “Listen, dear, you couldn't write ‘fuck’ on a dusty venetian blind.”

6. George Reid:

Sir George Houstoun Reid (1845 – 1918) was an Australian politician who led the Reid Government as the fourth Prime Minister of Australia from 1904 to 1905, having previously been Premier of New South Wales from 1894 to 1899. He led the Free Trade Party from 1891 to 1908.


On one occasion a heckler pointed to his ample paunch and exclaimed "What are you going to call it, George, when it’s born?"

Reid replied: "If it's a boy, I'll call it after myself. If it's a girl I'll call it Victoria. But if, as I strongly suspect, it's nothing but piss and wind, I'll name it after you."

7. Robert Menzies:

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies (1894 – 1978), was an Australian politician who twice served as Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He played a central role in the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia, defining its policies and its broad outreach. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total.


Menzies was well known for a quick wit and for responding to hecklers.

Whilst speaking in Williamstown, Victoria, in 1954, a heckler shouted, "I wouldn’t vote for you if you were the Archangel Gabriel." Menzies replied "If I were the Archangel Gabriel, I’m afraid you wouldn't be in my constituency."

Some bonus Menzies quotes: 

To a heckler who called out: "Tell us all you know Bob, it won't take long!" – "I'll tell you everything we both know; it won't take any longer." 

To a heckler who shouted: "Wotcha gunna do about 'ousing?" – "Put an 'h' in front of it." 

On his visit to the United Nations in 1960: "Mr Khrushchev looked me up and down and said that, for an imperialist, I was not a bad specimen. I told him that for a communist, he improved on closer inspection."

8. Joe Pyne and Frank Zappa:

Joe Pyne (1924 – 1970) was an American radio and television talk show host, who pioneered the confrontational style in which the host advocates a viewpoint and argues with guests and audience members. According to the Smithsonian magazine:
Nearly forgotten today, Joe Pyne ran roughshod over America’s airwaves in the 1950s and ’60s. A charismatic bully in a jacket and tie, he grilled hippies, Black Panthers, “pinkos,” “fairies” and “women’s libbers,” practically inventing the attack interview. The New York Times called him “the ranking nuisance of broadcasting...hitting a jackpot by making a virtue of bad manners and wallowing in the cheap sensationalism of an electronic peepshow.” To Time magazine he was “Killer Joe, host of a tasteless electronic peepshow.” By 1968 Pyne had more than ten million viewers a week—comparable to the audience Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly combined to reach last year.
In 1955, Pyne lost the lower part of his left leg due to a rare form of cancer. Therafter he had a wooden prosthetic leg.

Frank Zappa (1940 – 1993) was an American musician, composer, activist and filmmaker. His work is characterised by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his era.

Zappa died, after his long battle with prostate cancer, on December 4, 1993, just 18 days before his 53rd birthday at his home with his wife and children by his side. At a private ceremony the following day, his body was buried in a grave at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, in Los Angeles. The grave is unmarked. On December 6, his family publicly announced that "Composer Frank Zappa left for his final tour just before 6:00 pm on Saturday".


Zappa once appeared on Pyne’s TV show. After introducing Zappa, Pyne commented "I guess your long hair makes you a woman." 

Zappa responded "I guess your wooden leg makes you a table."

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Quote for the Day

100 Greatest Replies: 1-4

I had occasion today to tell the story of a meeting between American actress Jean Harlow, and Margot Asquith, English socialite and the wife of British Prime Minister Herbert Asquite, PM from 1908 to 1916.

I was going to repost that story, then decided to repost the various instalments of 100 Greatest Replies insofar as I only ever raeched 31. They are all worth a re-read, here is the first instalment . . . 

Who doesn’t like a great comeback, sometimes we wish that we had been the ones saying it. Other times, like George Costanza, we later think of the comeback that we should have made at the time. Today begins a regular series of great comebacks, with Numbers 1 -4 . . .

1.  Calvin Coolidge:

Calvin Coolidge (1872 – 1933) was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929). Although known to be a skilled and effective public speaker, in private he was a man of few words and was commonly referred to as "Silent Cal". Dorothy Parker, upon learning that Coolidge had died, reportedly remarked, "How can they tell?" Alice Roosevelt Longworth once described him as looking “as though he had been weaned on a pickle."

In a story recounted by First Lady Grace Coolidge, the President was seated next to a society matron at a dinner.

Woman: "I made a bet today that I could get more than two words out of you." 

Coolidge: "You lose."

2.  Oscar Wilde:

 Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) was one of London's most popular playwrights and authors in the early 1890s. After being found guilty of gross indecency with males, he was gaoled between 1895-1897 and died destitute in France aged 46.

It is recounted that poet Lewis Morris complained to Wilde that his recently published book of verse was not being reviewed and that he felt it was being deliberately ignored. (There is conjecture by some that Wilde may have made the following comment to a third person, rather than to Morris direct, or that he would not have made a cruel comment such as that below).

Morris: “There is a conspiracy against me, a conspiracy of silence, but what can one do? What should I do?”

Wilde: “Join it.”

3.  Margot Asquith:

Emma Alice Margaret Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith (1864 – 1945), known as Margot Asquith, was an Anglo-Scottish socialite, author, and wit. She was married to H. H. Asquith, a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from 1894 until his death in 1928. 

Jean Harlow:

Jean Harlow (1911 – 1937) was an American film actress and sex symbol. She had become one of the biggest movie stars in the world by the late 1930s and was nicknamed the "Blonde Bombshell" and the "Platinum Blonde". She died at age 26.

The following story is quoted as factual by some sources and as apocryphal by others. 

Jean Harlow: 'Say - aren't you Margot Asquith?' (pronouncing the name "Margot" as in rhyming with “lot”).

Margot Asquith: 'Yes dear, but the 't' is silent, as in Harlow.”

4.  Disraeli:

Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881) twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and is the only British prime minister to have been of Jewish birth. 


Daniel O'Connell (1775 – 1847) was an Irish Roman Catholic political leader, parliamentarian and Lord Mayor of Dublin. 

In 1835 O'Connell attacked Disraeli during a by election, referring to Disraeli as the “'worst possible type of Jew” and stated that:

"He has just the qualities of that impertinent thief on the cross, and I verily believe, if Mr. Disraeli's family herald were to be examined and his genealogy traced, that same personage would be discovered to be the heir at law of the exalted individual to whom I allude."

Disraeli, in a letter to the Times, replied:

"Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon."

(Commonly it is stated that Disraeli made the above response in the House of Commons but that is incorrect. It should also be noted that Disraeli was a practising Christian, despite his Jewish background, and that Jews were not allowed to enter Parliament until 1858.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Quote for the Day

More Farting by Graham

Part 2 of a contribution by Graham E on facts and trivia about flatulence, pics and additional comments by moi. 


The Hundeprutterutchebane (Danish for Dog-Fart Roller Coaster) is a steel family roller coaster at BonBon-Land in southern Zealand, Denmark, approximately 100 kilometres from Copenhagen. The rollercoaster is known best for its name and its unique dog-flatulence-related theme. 


Hundeprutterutchebane was the first coaster to open at BonBon-Land in 1993. BonBon-Land was opened in 1992 by a candy maker that manufactured disgusting-sounding candy flavors. Hundeprutter ("Dog Farts") were one of the most popular flavors and consequently became the theme for the first coaster at the park. It is the park's smallest roller coaster. The coaster trains are designed in the shape of a dog named "Henry Dog Fart" and the dog theme is pervasive throughout the coaster's course. Riders are taken round a statue of a defecating Henry the Dog,through a kennel and past bones and piles of dog feces. There are also speakers throughout the ride which make "dog fart" sounds. 


Farting in Literature . . . 


Walter the Farting Dog is the title character of a series of children's books written by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, and illustrated by Audrey Colman. 


Thunderpants is a 2002 British-German-American family film about a boy whose incredible capacity for flatulence gets him a job as an astronaut. 


The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts, is a children's book by Shinta Chō which was first published in Japan in 1978; the first American edition was in 1994. The book tells children about flatulence (also known as farting), and that it is completely natural to do so. 


Farting features prominently in J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield's scorn is temporarily interrupted when “this guy sitting in the row in front of me, Edgar Marsalla, laid this terrific fart. 

In James Joyce’s Ulysses, the novel’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom is described in a particularly unflattering scene as sitting “asquat the cuckstool… seated calm above his own rising smell.” 

Jonathan Swift wrote "The Benefit of Farting" in 1722, in which he wrote “I take it there are five or six different species of fart.” These are “the sonorous and full-toned or rousing fart,” “the double fart,” “the soft fizzing fart,” “the wet fart,” and “the sullen wind-bound fart.” 


Two important early texts are the 5th century BC plays The Knights and The Clouds, both by Aristophanes, which contain numerous fart jokes. 

In Penguin's 1001 Arabian Nights Tales, a story entitled "The Historic Fart" tells of a man who flees his country from the sheer embarrassment of farting at his wedding, only to return ten years later to discover that his fart had become so famous, that people used the anniversary of its occurrence to date other events. 


I have in the past told this as a joke, not knowing of the historical background: 
In a small Egyptian village one Mohamad El Caribe sits down one night to a large plate of ful, the dish made of fava beans. The next day when he is at his stall in the marketplace he feels an urge to pass gas but he stifles it. The more he suppresses the urge, the more the pressure builds until, eventually, the pressure is released. The noise is so loud and so sustained that everyone stops, all activity ceases as the trumpet continues sounding. At end not a word is spoken. Instead stunned people in the marketplace stare at Mohamad. He slinks away to his humble residence, ashamed and humiliated. That night, under cover of darkness, he steals away and becomes a desert nomad. 
As he grows old he would like again to see the place of his birth and childhood for one last time. He reasons that after this time everyone will have forgotten him and what he did.

Eventually he makes it back to the village and enters the marketplace where he finds that a large supermarket has replaced the stallholders. He stops someone and asks when the supermarket had been built. The man does some calculations in his head and replies “I will tell you. It was twenty years, 2 months and 11 days from when Mohamad El Caribe farted in the marketplace.” 
Here is the 1001 Arabian Nights version: 
The Historic Fart  
1001 Nights  
They recount that in the city of Kaukaban in Yemen there was a man named Abu Hasan of the Fadhli tribe who left the Bedouin life and became a townsman and the wealthiest of merchants. His wife died while both were young, and his friends pressed him to marry again.
Weary of their pressure, Abu Hasan entered into negotiations with the old women who procure matches, and married a woman as beautiful as the moon shining over the sea. To the wedding banquet he invited kith and kin, ulema and fakirs, friends and foes, and all of his acquaintances.

The whole house was thrown open to feasting: There were five different colors of rice, and sherbets of as many more; kid goats stuffed with walnuts, almonds, and pistachios; and a young camel roasted whole. So they ate and drank and made merry.

The bride was displayed in her seven dresses -- and one more -- to the women, who could not take their eyes off her. At last the bridegroom was summoned to the chamber where she sat enthroned. He rose slowly and with dignity from his divan; but in do doing, for he was over full of meat and drink, he let fly a great and terrible fart.

In fear for their lives, all the guests immediately turned to their neighbors and talked aloud, pretending to have heard nothing.

Mortified, Abu Hasan turned away from the bridal chamber and as if to answer a call of nature. He went down to the courtyard, saddled his mare, and rode off, weeping bitterly through the night.
In time he reached Lahej where he found a ship ready to sail for India; so he boarded, arriving ultimately at Calicut on the Malabar coast. Here he met with many Arabs, especially from Hadramaut, who recommended him to the King. This King (who was a Kafir) trusted him and advanced him to the captaincy of his bodyguard. He remained there ten years, in peace and happiness, but finally was overcome with homesickness. His longing to behold his native land was like that of a lover pining for his beloved; and it nearly cost him his life.

Finally he sneaked away without taking leave and made his way to Makalla in Hadramaut. Here he donned the rags of a dervish. Keeping his name and circumstances a secret, he set forth on foot for Kaukaban. He endured a thousand hardships of hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and braved a thousand dangers from lions, snakes, and ghouls.

Drawing near to his old home, he looked down upon it from the hills with brimming eyes, and said to himself, "They might recognize me, so I will wander about the outskirts and listen to what people are saying. May Allah grant that they do not remember what happened."

He listened carefully for seven nights and seven days, until it happened that, as he was sitting at the door of a hut, he heard the voice of a young girl saying, "Mother, tell me what day was I born on, for one of my companions wants to tell my fortune."

The mother answered, "My daughter, you were born on the very night when Abu Hasan farted."

No sooner had the listener heard these words than he rose up from the bench and fled, saying to himself, "Verily my fart has become a date! It will be remembered for ever and ever.

He continued on his way, returning finally to India, where he remained in self exile until he died. May the mercy of Allah be upon him!

PS: More farting to come.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Quote for the Day

"Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God's final word on where your lips end."

- Jerry Seinfeld

English can be Thoroughly Tough

Englksh Is A Pane

- Alan Balter 

Hear eye sit inn English class; the likelihood is that eye won't pass
An F on my report card wood bee worse than swallowing glass
It's knot that eye haven't studied, often till late at knight
Butt the rules are sew confusing, eye simply can't get them write

Hour teacher says, "Heed my advice, ewe must study and sacrifice"
Butt if mouses are mice and louses are lice, how come blouses aren't blice
The confusion really abounds when adding esses two nouns
Gooses are geese, butt mooses aren't meese; somebody scent in the clowns

Two ultimatums are ultimata, and a couple of datum are data
Sew wouldn't ewe expect it wood bee correct fore a bunch of plums to be plata?
And if more than won octopus are octopi, and the plural of ox is oxen
Shouldn't a couple of busses bee bussi and a pare of foxes bee foxen?

Let's talk about spelling a wile, specifically letters witch are silent
Words like "psychologist" and "wreck" shirley make awl of us violent
And another example quite plane witch is really hard two explain
If it's eye before e except after sea, then what about feign and reign?

The final exam will determine how eye due, weather eye pass ore fail
I halve prepared as much as eye can down two the last detail
I'm ready two give it my vary best inn just a little wile
And then isle take a relaxing wrest on a tropical aisle

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Quote for the Day

Bytes and Pieces: Architecture


From 1912 to 1948, the International Olympic Committee gave medals across five creative arts categories including architecture, painting, sculpture, literature and music.  For Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the modern Olympics, art competitions had always been part of his original intentions for the modern Olympics as they were in the ancient Olympics, which had competitions for music, singing and public speaking.  All entries in all categories of the art competitions were required to draw links between art and sport.

The Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, designed by Jan Wils, 
won the architecture category of the 1928 Olympic Art Competition. 
It was the first and only time the prize was awarded to a realised work.

Hey Wayne (my friend, trivia team member and retired town planner), as I mentioned to you, in the four Olympic games between 1928 and 1948 (Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Berlin, and London), gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded for town planning.  Town planning fell under the architectural design category along with "mixed architecture" and "mixed architecture, architectural designs," which were a part of the larger "Arts" portion of the Olympic games that included everything from literature to sculpture.

In 1936 at the Berlin Olympics Werner March and Walter March took out the gold medal in town planning for the Reich Stadium. The massive scale of the stadium was intended to show off the rising power of Nazi Germany.

1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium

In 2004 the IOC revived the idea of art competition with the introduction of the Olympic Art Sport Contest but this was short-lived.

Ferdinand Cheval (1836 – 1924) was a French postman who spent thirty-three years of his life building Le Palais idéal (the "Ideal Palace") in Hauterives, France. The Palace is regarded as an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture.

Cheval began the building in April 1879. 

He reported:

"I was walking very fast when my foot caught on something that sent me stumbling a few meters away, I wanted to know the cause. In a dream I had built a palace, a castle or caves, I cannot express it well... I told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and I felt ridiculous myself. Then fifteen years later, when I had almost forgotten my dream, when I wasn't thinking of it at all, my foot reminded me of it. My foot tripped on a stone that almost made me fall. I wanted to know what it was... It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease. The next day, I went back to the same place. I found more stones, even more beautiful, I gathered them together on the spot and was overcome with delight... It's a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by the power of time. It becomes as hard as pebbles. It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature. I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture."
 For the next thirty-three years, Cheval picked up stones during his daily mail round and carried them home to build the Palais idéal.  He spent the first twenty years building the outer walls. At first, he carried the stones in his pockets, then switched to a basket. Eventually, he used a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.

The Palais is a mix of different styles with inspirations from Christianity to Hinduism. Cheval bound the stones together with lime, mortar and cement.

Cheval wanted to be buried in his palace. Because that is illegal in France, he spent eight more years building a mausoleum for himself in the Hauterives cemetery. He died on 19 August 1924, about a year after he had finished building it, and is buried there.

In 1969, André Malraux, the Minister of Culture, declared the Palais a cultural landmark and had it officially protected.

The starting point: the unusually-shaped stone over which Cheval tripped.

Hindu Temple

Part of the north font

Swiss chalet

First occupied by John Adams in 1800, the White House has witnessed one presidential wedding, five first-family weddings, 11 births, and seven presidential funerals. Recent additions include John F. Kennedy’s swimming pool, Richard Nixon’s bowling alley, and Bill Clinton’s running track.

The building was originally variously referred to as the "President's Palace", "Presidential Mansion", or "President's House".  The earliest evidence of the public calling it the "White House" was recorded in 1811. A myth emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure after the Burning of Washington, white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. The name "Executive Mansion" was used in official contexts until President Theodore Roosevelt established the formal name by having "White House–Washington" engraved on the stationery in 1901. The current letterhead wording and arrangement "The White House" with the word "Washington" centered beneath goes back to the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.[

Although the structure was not completed until some years after the presidency of George Washington, there is speculation that the name of the traditional residence of the president of the United States may have derived from Martha Washington's home, White House Plantation in Virginia, where the nation's first president had courted the first lady in the mid-18th century.

The White House as it looked following the fire of August 24, 1814

Earliest known photograph of the White House, taken c. 1846 by John Plumbe during the administration of James K. Polk.