Sunday, October 31, 2021



Bonus Halloween quote:



From Bytes:
Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some Halloween Trivia

Halloween has its origins in the Celtic festival of Samhain, a word meaning “summer’s end”. The festival marked the end of the harvest, the end of the “lighter half” of the year and the beginning of the “darker half”. Celebrated over several days, it had elements of the Festival of the Dead, a festival to honour or recognise deceased members of the community. Bonfires were a large part of the festivities and people and their livestock often walked between two fires as a cleansing ritual.

The word Halloween is a Scottish variant of All Hallows Even (“evening”), the night before All Hallows Day. For those younger readers who think that the origin is associated with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the word “hallows” comes from the Gothic word “hailag” meaning holy. All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints Day, honours the saints, both known and unknown.

In 601AD Pope Gregory instructed his priests to incorporate local practices and celebrations into Christian practice and belief when seeking to convert pagans to Christianity, rather than seek to remove them entirely. Smart man. Accordingly All Saints Day was listed for 1 November, the day following Samhain, as a means of countering the influence of that pagan festival.

Whereas Samhrain had recognised both good and evil spirits in its rituals, the missionaries preached that the spirits of Samhain were all evil and that those who worshipped tem were devil worshippers. As a result Halloween became associated with evil spirits and the following day, the Christian celebratory day, was associated with the Saints.

Although the old beliefs continued, the nature of the celebrations changed. The worshippers now used the day to ward off evil spirits. The day became associated with witches, demons and fairies.

Orange and black are Halloween colours because orange is associated with the autumn harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.

Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.

Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.

The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognised as human.

Black cats were once believed to be witch's familiars who protected their powers.

Saturday, October 30, 2021


People are crazy and times are strange

- Lyric from Bib Dylan's "Things Have Changed"


The following list, with more to come, is from the website "Factinate" at:

I have not checked the facts stated but am aware that a number of those given are accurate, so I am prepared to accept the list as reliable.

1. Queen Elizabeth Had A Nasty Mouth

Although dental hygiene was not necessarily at its peak in Tudor England, Queen Elizabeth I’s fondness for sweets gave her pearly whites an even darker tone…in fact, her chompers were probably very black. More than that, since sugar was a luxury, some women then blackened their teeth both to emulate their queen and show off their wealth.

2. Thomas Edison Was Evil

The famous inventor Thomas Edison had a huge dark side not many people know about. For example, he used electricity to publicly kill animals. He wanted to show how alternating current was more dangerous than the “direct” current that he used. On one occasion, he used A/C to execute a rogue circus elephant named “Topsy” in front of thousands of people.

3. Alexander The Great’s Mother Was Scary

Queen Olympias was Alexander the Great‘s mother, and she was even more ruthless than her son. On one occasion, she sent a captive enemy queen a cup of poison, a noose, and a sword…then told her to choose how she would die. According to history, the woman chose to hang herself, though she cursed Olympias to the very end of her life.

4. Napoleon Used His Wife As A “Womb”

Napoleon Bonaparte famously adored his wife Josephine, but few people remember the dark end of their love affair. Tragically, Josephine couldn’t have children, so Napoleon made a hard choice: He divorced Josephine and took up with Marie-Louise of Austria. Napoleon reportedly told his blushing bride straight off, “It is a womb that I am marrying.”

5. Ernest Hemingway Almost Died In Back-To-Back Plane Crashes

In 1954, the macho writer Ernest Hemingway got into a plane crash. He miraculously survived, but that was just the start of the nightmare. When he tried to take another plane to get medical help, that plane exploded upon taking off. Hemingway managed to survive again. Talk about bad luck. Or wait a minute…actually, is that good luck?

6. The Best Comeback In History

Richard Feynman, a physicist, bet a friend he would be able to get more than two words at a time out of his colleague Paul Dirac, who didn’t talk much. After speaking to Dirac for several hours with no success, Richard revealed his failure to Dirac. He had the most perfect response. The latter smiled and said, “You’ve lost.” Darn, Paul.

7. The FBI Knew About Pearl Harbor

The FBI ignored compelling evidence about the attack on Pearl Harbor because they didn’t trust the Serbian double agent Dusan Popov, who was apparently a gambling, lustful lush. Dusan’s nickname around town was “tricycle” because of his infamous love of threesomes. Unsurprisingly, he was one of the inspirations for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

8. There Were Original “Siamese Twins”

Two Siam natives, Chang and Eng Bunker, were American twins joined at the sternum. During the American Civil War in 1865, Eng’s name was drawn in a draft lottery, but not Chang’s. There was little the conscription officials could do: The brothers were not only joined at the sternum, but their livers were also fused. Neither twin served in the conflict.

9. Ben Franklin Had Bodies In His Basement

While renovating his home into a museum, researchers made a horrific discovery at Ben Franklin’s house. They found 10 bodies in the founding father’s basement. This led to speculation he may have been a serial killer. However, the bodies were more likely cadavers used for the anatomical studies of one of Franklin’s friends.

10. Abraham Lincoln Cheated Death Once

Abraham Lincoln was almost killed two years before he was assassinated. Late one August evening in 1863, Lincoln rode alone by horse to his family’s summer residence. A private at the gate heard a shot ring out and, moments later, a bareheaded Lincoln clinging to his steed galloped into the yard. Lincoln explained that gunfire at the foot of the hill had sent his horse into a frenzied gallop, running so fast that it knocked his hat off.

The two men retrieved Lincoln’s hat, which had a bullet hole in it. Lincoln asked the guards to keep the incident quiet because he didn’t want to worry his wife...

11. Dogs Nearly Toppled Russia

During WWII, the Russians trained dogs to run under German tanks with bombs strapped to their backs. There was just one enormous problem with this. Although it was a brilliant plan in theory, unfortunately, the dogs were trained to run under Russian tanks. So when the battles actually came, they ended up blowing their home team up instead.

12. The Most Ruthless French Queen

The Tour de Nesle affair was a scandal in the French royal family in 1314. In it, Queen Isabella of England accused her sisters-in-law of adultery. The scandal led to the imprisonment of the women and the execution of their lovers. The lovers were then executed. Most histories agree that they were first castrated and then drawn and quartered.

13. This Cure Was Worse Than The Disease

Amputation was the most common treatment for broken or severely wounded limbs during the American Civil War. Yes, this was a horrible idea, and it showed. More than half of leg amputations at the thigh or knee were actually fatal to the patient, and your chances were even worse if the doctor amputated your leg at the hip joint.

14. Marie Curie Slowly Killed Herself

Marie Curie, the chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, was completely in the dark when it came to the dangers of radioactive materials. Though she and her husband both suffered from chronic pain, neither considered that it was their radioactive substance-handling that was the cause. It was. Some of their original lab equipment is still so radioactive that we cannot safely view or study them.

15. Ancient Romans Dealt Out A Shocking Punishment

In Ancient Rome, the punishment for killing your father was the death penalty. But, uh, not just any penalty. Your prosecutors would sew you up in a sack along with a monkey, a viper, a dog, and a rooster. The punishment varied slightly depending on the ruling emperor; some rulers preferred more snakes and others more dogs.

16. Einstein Was A Horrible Husband

Albert Einstein’s marriage contract with his wife included these conditions: “You will make sure that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order; that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room; that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.” Worst of all, his wife agreed to these terms.

17. Ancient Roman Bathroom Etiquette Was…Weird

Ancient Romans used a communal sponge on a stick called a “spongia” to clean themselves after pooping. Once you had done your business, you would rinse the spongia in a channel of running water at your feet, give your bottom a solid wipe, rinse off the spongia… and leave it in a basin for the next person to use! Thanks, but no thanks, Ancient Romans.

18. People Wore Wigs For An Icky Reason

Back in the late 16th century, wealthy males became troubled by an outbreak of balding heads from the venereal disease syphilis. In an ingenious move to kill two birds with one stone, elaborate powdered and scented wigs became all the rage in the effort to hide hair loss as well as the unpleasant odours associated with the illness.

19. Al Capone Went Insane

When Al Capone was put in Alcatraz for tax evasion, doctors discovered he had syphilis, but Capone refused treatment because he was afraid of needles. After 11 years in Alcatraz, the disease had eaten away at his brain so much that he could no longer resume his gangster life. Before his passing, people often spotted him casting a fishing rod into his swimming pool.

20. Gandhi Liked To Tempt Himself With Young Women

Today we see Gandhi as a figure of peaceful protest and understanding. But there’s a side of him no one knows. At the age of 36, while married, Gandhi became more and more obsessed with lust. In order to train and “perfect” his control over his desires, Gandhi would sleep naked with young women. But one night, he committed an act so heinous that it made his own staff member quit on him forever.  Gandhi had performed this sleeping act with his own grand-niece named Manu. His stenographer left in disgust.

Friday, October 29, 2021





The end of another week, dear readers, so time for some Friday fun.

Two special days coming up, Halloween on Sunday and the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s richest horse race and is dubbed “the race that stops a nation”.

Some recycled Halloween and Cup humour (what I call Gallopween) from past Bytes is interspersed below.

Enjoy, readers, may your trick or treat bags be full as well as your pockets.



Just thought I'd nip over to my Nan's, and fair play to her, at 96, she had all the Halloween decorations up, cobwebs and insects in the windows and a skeleton on the couch.

She always makes a big effort, but there was no answer...I'll pop back next year.

A man goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot.

The shop owner points to three identical looking parrots on a perch and says:

"The parrot to the left costs 500 dollars".

"Why does the parrot cost so much?" the customer asks.

The owner says, "Well, it knows how to use a computer."

The customer asks about the next parrot and is told "That one costs 1,000 dollars because it can do everything the other parrot can do plus it knows how to use the UNIX operating system."

Naturally, the increasingly startled man asks about the third parrot and is told "That one costs 2,000 dollars."

Needless to say this begs the question "What can IT do?"

To which the owner replies "To be honest I have never seen it do a thing but the other two call him boss!"

A leading trainer was given an eye test and was presented with a new pair of glasses. The optician said they would cost $500. "Too much!" cried the trainer. "They're bi-focal" said the optician. "I don't care if they're by Phar Lap. It's too much."

My wife told me she'll slam my head on the keyboard if I don't get off the computer.

I'm not too worried, I think she's jokinlkjhfakljn m,.nbziyoao78yv87dfaoyuofaytdfw7.

Daughter: “Mum, I'm going to a sleepover at Jack's.”

Mum: “Use protection.”

Daughter: “Mum, I'm 15.”

Mum: “…and I'm 30.”

Went trick-or-treating last night. Every house I called at slammed the door back in my face.

Maybe going as a Jehovah's Witness wasn't the best idea.



A young jockey and his stable lass girlfriend make the decision to get married.

After the wedding and reception, the couple go to a hotel to check in.

The lady behind the desk asks ‘Would you like the bridal suite?'

'No thanks,’ says the jockey ‘I'll just hold her ears till she gets the hang of it!'

A bald man with a wooden leg gets invited to a Halloween party. He doesn't know what costume to wear to hide his head and his leg so he writes to a costume company to explain his problem. A few days later he received a parcel with the following note:

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed a pirate's outfit. The spotted handkerchief will cover your bald head and, with your wooden leg, you will be just right as a pirate.

Very truly yours,

Acme Costume Co.

The man thinks this is terrible because they have emphasised his wooden leg and so he writes a letter of complaint. A week goes by and he receives another parcel and a note, which says:

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed a monk's costume. The long robe will cover your wooden leg and, with your bald head, you will really look the part.

Very truly yours,

Acme Costume Co.

Now the man is really upset since they have gone from emphasising his wooden leg to emphasising his bald head so again he writes the company another nasty letter of complaint. The next day he gets a small parcel and a note, which reads:

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed a bottle of molasses and a bag of crushed nuts. Pour the molasses over your bald head, pat on crushed nuts, stick your wooden leg up your arse and go as a toffee apple.

Very truly yours,

Acme Costume Co.



By moi, from last year and still topical . . .

It’s time for Halloween cheer
When one tries to create primal fear,
Forget witches and ghosts,
What has scared me the most
Has been the whole of this fucking year.





My wife and daughter are leaving because of my obsession with horse racing.

And they're off!

Did you hear they’re cancelling Halloween this year?

Because nobody would wear a mask.

What do Jeffrey Epstein and Halloween decorations having common?

They don’t hang themselves.

Forgive me father, priest, padre, vicar, pastor

For I have synonymed


Thursday, October 28, 2021

Wednesday, October 27, 2021




Unless the contrary is specified, every criminal offence requires both a criminal act, expressed in Latin as the actus reus, and a criminal intention, expressed as mens rea.  Translated from the Latin, the expression mens rea literally means "guilty mind".

(I am reminded of a scene in that most excellent bodacious film See No Evil, Hear No Evil, with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor as Dave and Wally, who get blamed for a murder.

Professor Kasuda advises Captain Sutherland that he's found proof Dave and Wally had the mens rea, meaning the intention to commit the murder.

Men’s rea? How could we have gotten men's rea? How is that possible? Did we take blood? Can you do it without taking blood? We both used condoms how is this possible? I want to see a doctor...I feel sick...

.....Mens Rea

Ohhh ohhh My God! No!)
Mens rea is often described as the “mental element” in a crime. It can include what used to be known as “malice aforethought”, ie conscious planning or intent, as well as something culpable but less deliberate, such as recklessness or negligence.

A crime which does not require any proof of mens rea to secure a conviction is known as a one of “absolute liability” or “strict liability”. Often health codes require no mens rea, nor does the offence of driving with the prescribed concentration of alcohol in one’s bloodstream.  The offence is doing it, intention to do it or awareness of doing it not being needed.  (That said, even if awareness is not a defence, it can go to mitigation as far as penalty is concerned.  Thus not being aware that one's drinks were spiked is not a defence but it can reduce penalty).

Which is all by way of introduction to an item I have posted before but is worthy of another airing, having come up in discussions recently with some colleagues.

It illustrates well the concepts of actus reus and mens rea.

Whilst the story below was presented by Don Harper Mills at the 1994 American Academy of Forensic Sciences dinner, the story itself is not true. It was made up by him "to illustrate how if you alter a few small facts you greatly alter the legal consequences..."


Here is Dr Mills' story:

On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to the effect indicating his despondency.

As he fell past the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

"Ordinarily," Dr Mills continued, "Someone who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide." That Mr. Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have been successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands.

In the room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window striking Mr. Opus.

When one intends to kill subject 'A' but kills subject 'B' in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject 'B'. When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both adamant and both said that they thought the shotgun was not loaded. The old man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, assuming the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

Now comes the exquisite twist. Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021





Another contribution from the prolific Graham . . .
Hi Mr O,

Found this Irish artist Manu who creates extraordinary works of art using a rake on the beaches of Northern Ireland.

Graham followed this with a series pf pics . . .

Thanks G.

All sorts of questions come to mind . . .

Why do it if you can’t sell it and it has only a short life span?

How does the disturbed sand appear black?

How does he get rid of the footprints?

Some of those questions are answered in the following article. . . 

From the website at the above link:

The Beach Sandart of Manu
Celtic Nations Magazine

Oops, wrong Manu, that's Manu Feidel, judge on Australian Masterchef

Manu, sand artist

Art always had a place in my life. Even though I didn’t get a place in college for arts (I studied architecture instead) I kept creating abstract art, mostly on canvas.

After moving to Ireland, I found my love of creating art on beaches. It all started with picking up some driftwood and scratching a personal message to my better half into the sand – a message I designed in the 90’s and by now it’s the tattoo we both have instead of a wedding ring. The simple contrast in the sand was fascinating me, and straight away I had plans for something bigger. My first ever proper drawing had a diameter of almost 40 meters containing 6 circles and a random freehand design. From this day I was hooked up on art on beaches.

But for a long time, I didn’t exceed this size as I more and more focused on sacred geometry which meant more planning had to go into the drawings – and the more intricate they got the more I was limited in size.

My aim of symmetry and geometrical perfection on a big scale often lead to the question of how this can be achieved. I design on the desk on A3, and work out a geometrical construction plan for the beach. There, I always use the same main tools: bamboo sticks, strings and measuring tape help me to find construction points and to outline the drawing.

From there on it is freehand. The drawing itself is done with a set of rakes. Tidal sand contains a lot of moisture underneath the dry and bright surface, and raking the sand brings up the more wet – and therefore darker – sand. It creates a contrast, and this is how I draw.

I never check the process from above from a cliff or with the drone, time is too limited to do so. When I start with tide going out I have a maximum of 6 hours of drawing time until the incoming tide claims everything.

When raking I’m like in a tunnel. Sometimes I don’t even hear the sea anymore as I’m fully soaked into this geometrical path to fulfill my desired design. Focus is the key. But you can easily get lost within a drawing which can cover areas of up to 20,000 sq ft. Mistakes can happen but are rarely noticed by the viewer, if I make one I only discover it in the evening watching the drone footage when the actual drawing had already been claimed by the incoming tide.

The shading is achieved by increasing or decreasing raking strokes. The darkest patches are fully raked 2-3 times, while a brighter shaded area is barely raked. It’s always a challenge to do the same grade of shading on different places within a drawing. Often people think I’m using bright and dark coloured sand or even photoshop the images afterwards. No, all the effects are done with an ordinary garden rake.

Inspiration comes from all sorts of areas – sacred geometry, Celtic drawings, 3-D effects, illusions, crop circles and so on. I rarely copy. I take on ideas and work them out in my way. Most beach designs are well planned out beforehand, but sometimes I also walk onto a location, soak up the environment and stick to a spontaneous theme.

My art is more a passion than a job. Even though I get paid for contributions on festivals or for taking on commission work like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, companies logos etc. – I’ve even designed a book cover for an author in the States – the main reason for doing it is the experience of impermanence, the taking and giving of nature, the letting go, the art for the moment.

And there’s no better place than working by, along and with the sea. Being surrounded by beautiful landscapes combined with the sounds of the sea, interacting with passers-by or enjoying the peace and tranquility of a remote beach that is yours for the day.

I never leave a beach design before the tide reaches the drawing and starts erasing it. It’s a very special moment. Nature – in my case the incoming and outgoing tides – provides me with a perfect blank canvas, I use it in the time I’m given, and then nature claims it back. It’s a fair deal, and needs to be accepted. Where else would I have such big areas to draw? It’s part of it. I’m thankful for receiving so much feedback about my art. It is a good feeling, bringing a smile to people’s faces, especially in these strange times we’re in.

Each drawing means a lot to me, so it’s hard to figure out a favourite piece. But some of them are linked to little personal milestones, and I want to put a highlight on a global art project I got invited to in 2017, the Sri Yantra Landart Project, coordinating land artists from around the world to create Sri Yantra mandalas on the beaches of 5 continents.

This really opened doors for me. Now there are plans to hold large mandala workshops, and once restrictions are lifted I will finally be offering Airbnb experiences. These were set up 2 years ago so that groups can book me to spend a day creating sand art at one of the most beautiful remote coves of the South East coast of Ireland.

I’ve had the pleasure to work with so many photographers and drone operators. I enjoyed everyone’s efforts, and now I’m collaborating mostly with the professional cameraman Paddy Barron on bigger projects. We are a perfect team.

People can find my art at

There will be prints available shortly, and by the end of the year the first yearly calendar will be published.

Perhaps someday I will see you on one of the wonderful beaches of Ireland.


Additional pics . . .