Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Readers Write

Email from Brett B: 

Thanks Brett. 

I surmise that the humour is that yellow cat (?) has grilled a combined cheese and licorice sandwich but I wonder whether in reality that might not work. Would someone like to try it and report? 

I received an email from K, an American client now again living in the US who had previously been residing in Australia. Part of the email reads: 

Hi Otto,

I hope you are still well.

As you must know it is much more intense here in the States with the growing numbers. I'm in Maryland which has reached 8,000 and living not far from the Hospital is a daily reminder of what is happening with the continual siren of the ambulances and helicopters passing overhead to land. Across the Bay is where most of the sick are occurring since they are not far from DC or Baltimore, but the hospitals are already at capacity there, so now they bring them here.

I was somewhat prepared for this and managed to have sufficient food for several months but we shall keep this a secret since the sales of gun and ammunition has skyrocketed and already our local gun shop has sold out of everything. My 97 year old mother was pushing me to buy one and I said if it gets to that then I'm going back to Sydney. I refuse to shoot some poor hungry person who just wants food.

Fortunately our grocery stores are semi stocked so I'm hoping it won't escalate to that. America is crazy. 
How I miss Australia.

Take care and stay safe.

Warm regards, 
Thanks K, proves that no matter how bad things are, there will always be others worse off. 

Comments from Steve M: 

G’day Otto,

I enjoyed your look at Woolworths, which led me to thinking about a building in Tribeca, Manhatten, New York. I am fortunate to have been to NYC quite a few times, and without exception have always made time to go and stare in awe at the Woolworth skyscraper . It is adorned with gargoyles and I think it is clad in terracotta of some kind. During the only guided tour I took, the guide said it was rumoured that Mr Woolworth actually paid in coin, every time a progress payment was required by the builder. Apparently, the old bugger was a bit eccentric, and he had so much cash and small change, he enjoyed disposing of it that way – it also pissed the builder off no end, which gave Mr Woolworth a good chuckle. I think it was the tallest building in the world at one point in time, though it is quite small by today’s standards. When you consider that it was built in the early 1900’s, it is an amazing and beautiful piece of architecture. I understand an apartment in the building would now cost up to US$30m... I don’t know how much the whole building cost originally – it would be interesting to know. Anyway, Bytes brought back a terrific memory – thank you.

Diane fell in love with the Flat Iron building as well – have a squiz at that if you have time. We would move to New York in a heartbeat if my books ever took off over there, and would love to have the money to live in either the Woolworths Building or the Flat Iron. Or of course... opposite the park in the Dakota Apartments (glorious!) where John and Yoko lived and indeed, where John died. Huge $ needed though!

And if you want to see another truly amazing structure – there are so many in NYC – have a look at the Westfield Mall near the World Trade Centre, Otto. When you walk inside it, it’s rather like walking into a whale – how on earth the made it so vast is beyond me – wonderful architecture!

We would visit New York every year if we could – just love it. Little Italy is wonderful, and all the Jazz Clubs... there’s so much to see and do, it’s a great City.

Hope you and HRH are okay.

Love to all

Steve M 

Thanks, Steve, will do some Bytes on those buildings in the future. 

In the meantime, here is a tidbit: 

Yes. It was the world’s tallest building at one time and yes, the structural steel frame is clad in architectural terra cotta. It’s a no on the gargoyles, though, they are actually called “grotesques”, the following explanation being from Wikipedia: 
Since at least the 18th century (in French and German as well as English), grotesque has come to be used as a general adjective for the strange, mysterious, magnificent, fantastic, hideous, ugly, incongruous, unpleasant, or disgusting, and thus is often used to describe weird shapes and distorted forms such as Halloween masks. In art, performance, and literature, however, grotesque may also refer to something that simultaneously invokes in an audience a feeling of uncomfortable bizarreness as well as sympathetic pity. More specifically, the grotesque forms on Gothic buildings, when not used as drain-spouts, should not be called gargoyles, but rather referred to simply as grotesques, or chimeras.  

The grotesques in the Gothic Revival style Woolworths Building in Tribeca depict major people involved in the building's construction and are located at the intersection of the arcade and the mezzanine. These grotesques include: 

Architect Cass Gilbert with a model of the building 

Engineer Gunvald Aus taking a girder's measurements 

Frank Woolworth holding nickels and dimes 

All 6 of the grotesques depicting the persons involved in construction – 
Cass Gilbert, Frank Woolworth, Gunwald Aus, Louis Horowitz, Lewis Pierson and Frank Hogan in the grand lobby. 

There are others: 


Email from Rob T, also in respect of the Woolworths post: 

Dear Otto,

Thanks for the history of Woolworths …When I saw the name “ Frank Winfield Woolworth “ it reminded me that the British Woolworths used a brand name “Winfield” from 1963 onwards .. 
With best regards,

Rob T 

Thanks Rob.

Further email from Rob T in respect of the furtling images: 

Hi Otto, 
Interesting content today ! It reminded me of one of my favourite cartoons …. 

Best regards, 

Rob T 
Thanks Rob

Gary Larson of The Far Side fame has a similar theme but without the plumber's bum:


Email from John Pierce (I am showing his full name in that it is an item he sent to a newspaper using his name): 

From today's Daily Telegraph (Wareemba is our PO box address) 

Thanks John, see you back at Trivia one day.

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