Monday, October 31, 2022





Halloween Facts and Trivia


The White House was first decorated for Halloween in 1958.

Mamie Eisenhower decorated the White House for Halloween for the first time. She decked out the State Dining Room in twinkle lights, shocks of dried corn, jack-o'-lanterns and autumnal flower arrangements for a lunch for wives of staff members. Things took a spooky turn outside the dining room, though: Black cats, owls, witch heads and goblins hung from chandeliers in the foyer.

Halloween colours.

In the first few years of the 20th century, there were party guides being published that called yellow and brown Halloween’s colours, thanks to the holiday’s association with the fall harvest. Yellow was for corn/maize and brown was for hay and dried husks.

Orange is in honour of the jack-o’-lantern, which made its way into Halloween culture around 1910. It became “undisputed king of Halloween” because of the jack-o’-lantern’s prominence on postcards and in advertising.

Black likely comes from black cats, although bats contributed to that as well.

Americans spend more than $100 on Halloween.

In 2022, the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans would spend an average of $100 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards — just short of last year's estimate of $103.

Spending is expected to increase across the board, except spending on greeting cards is taking a slight dip this year. It appears that people are going more digital this Halloween.

William Shakespeare wrote the "Song of Witches".

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble” is from William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” A trio of witches recite the poem as they scheme over a bubbling cauldron and it's been associated with witches ever since.

People used to carve turnips, not pumpkins.

Initially, the Irish and Scottish carved turnips as a way to remember deceased souls. When they immigrated to the U.S., they realised that pumpkins were much easier to carve.

The most popular children’s Halloween costumes in 2022 (in order), according to Google:
"Stranger Things"
Harley Quinn

Halloween was once known as "Black Halloween".

Before costumes and trick-or-treating, Halloween was a night for pranking. The pranks eventually got out of control and in 1933, vandals caused millions of dollars of damage across the U.S., leading many people to refer to it as “Black Halloween.”

Trick-or-treating began in Canada (possibly).

The origins of trick-or-treating are still up for debate. Although some believe trick-or-treating dates back to medieval times, Henry Ansgar Kelly, a research professor specializing in medieval and renaissance studies at UCLA, said it may have started in Canada during the early 1900s as a way to deter pranksters from wreaking havoc.

Halloween isn't Day of the Dead (and vice versa).

While the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is often associated with Halloween, it shouldn't be. The Mexican holiday dates back more than 3,000 years and is a time to honour deceased loved ones. It isn’t associated with costumes, candy and other Halloween traditions.

Halloween generates billions of dollars.

Around $10 billion, to be exact. The most recent survey from the National Retail Federation predicted that Halloween would generate $10.6 billion in 2022, up from 10.14 billion in 2021. Costumes account for most of that, with kids and adult costumes expected to exceed $2.9 billion.

All Saints Day is not All Souls Day

Celebrated on November 1, All Saints Day honours the death of Catholic saints and loved ones. All Souls Day, on November 2, is observed to pray for souls of the faithfully departed that remain trapped in purgatory in hopes they'll be admitted to heaven.

Halloween may have started in 600 A.D.

Many experts believe that Halloween stems from Samhain, a Gaelic festival to celebrate the end of summer. The first known celebrations of Samhain are said to have occurred around 600 A.D., making Halloween more than 3,500 years old.

Retailers made Halloween popular.

From 1909 to the 1940s, the Dennison Manufacturing Co., a paper goods manufacturer located in Framingham, Mass., was one of the leading producers of Halloween costumes, invitations and decorations in the U.S. The rise in available Halloween-related goods spurred the popularity of the holiday.

Trick-or-treating took off in the 1930s.

Lisa Morten, author of “Trick of Treat: The History of Halloween,” said the first official mention of trick-or-treating as a Halloween activity in the U.S. was published in the November 1939 issue of "American Home" magazine.

Europe doesn't celebrate Halloween like the U.S.

Even though Halloween was brought to the U.S. from Irish and Scottish immigrants, the rest of Europe didn’t begin celebrating the holiday until decades later. Although many European countries now celebrate the holiday, it hasn't been quite as commercialized as the U.S.

It wasn't always called "Halloween".

There are several theories about the origin of the word “Halloween.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "Halloween" stems from “All Hallow’s Eve.” However, in 1773, the Scottish began calling it, “Hallow-e’-en.”

Then, a few years later, poet Robert Burns put the words together in the poem titled “Halloween” and we’ve been writing it that way ever since.

Halloween postcards used to be a thing.

From 1905 to 1920, more than 3,000 Halloween postcards were mass-produced. For years, people popped Halloween greetings in the mail until the telephone became the preferred method of communication.

In 2022, the National Retail Foundation said that passing out candy was the most popular way to spend Halloween. Other common ways that people celebrate include:
Decorating their home or yard
Dressing up in costume
Carving pumpkins
Throwing or attending a party

People used to carve other fruits.

U.S. magazines and Halloween guides from the late 1800s offered tips on how to carve apples and cucumbers in addition to jack-o’-lanterns.

Candied apples were a total mistake.

The beloved Halloween treat is said to have been invented by William W. Kolb, a New Jersey confectioner, in 1908. The candy maker supposedly dipped an apple into a cinnamon glaze as an experiment and discovered that patrons loved them.

Rhode Island is home to 6,000 jack-o'-lanterns.

The annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular held at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island displays more than 6,000 jack-o’-lanterns during their annual festival. It's one of the largest displays in the country, drawing roughly 115,000 to 140,000 visitors each year.

Black cats get a bum rap.

Black cats are undeservedly associated with bad luck. Their reputation dates way back to the Middle Ages when people considered them a sign of the devil. Hundreds of years later, black cats became the object of fear and scorn after being linked to witches and black magic.

Transylvania is located in the U.S.

If you love vampires and want to visit Transylvania, you need only book a trip to North Carolina. Known as the “Land of Waterfalls,” (not vampires, who knew?), Transylvania County is located in western North Carolina and is home to roughly 34,000 residents. The official Bram Stoker version is in Romania.

Halloween isn't just for kids anymore.

Once upon a time, Halloween was all about kids and while that's still true, adult participation is growing year over year. According to the NRF, roughly 55% of households without children planned to celebrate Halloween in 2021 (up from 49% back in 2020).

Annual spending on adult Halloween costumes was also predicted to be around $1.5 billion.

The most popular Halloween candy is ...

According to research by YouGov, the most popular Halloween candy is M&Ms!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups come in a close second.

Here is the most popular Halloween candy for adults, ranked:
M&Ms (original)
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
Kit Kat
Peanut M&Ms
Milky Way
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
Reese's Pieces


Sunday, October 30, 2022



Bonus quote:

RIP Jerry Lee, that is, Rock your Insane Piano, wherever you are playing. . . 




Pulitzer Prizes for Photography: 

Between 1942 and 1967 a Pulitzer Prize for Photography was awarded for photojournalism, that is, for photographs telling a news story. In 1968 that award was replaced by awards in two new categories: 

  • the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography (photography in the nature of breaking news, as it has been called since 2000); and 

  • the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography (human interest and matters associated with new items).


World Press Photo of the Year: 

From 1955 World Press Photo has awarded prizes for the best photographs in 10 categories, with an overall award for the image that "... is not only the photojournalistic encapsulation of the year, but represents an issue, situation or event of great journalistic importance, and does so in a way that demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity". 

The photographs are interesting not only in their own right but for being windows on history. 


The following item is a repost, having been the subject of a 2010 Bytes post before the Pulitzer and WPP list was started. 

I am reposting it to maintain the chronological continuity and, if anything, it has even more relevance today now that everyone with a phone has a camera and is a potential photo-journalist. 

It reminds me of . . . 


Award:  Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography 

Year:  1994 

Photographer:  Kevin Carter

Photograph(s):  “For a picture first published in The New York Times of a starving Sudanese girl who collapsed on her way to a feeding centre while a vulture waited nearby." 


Kevin Carter (1960-1994) was a South African photojournalist. Having commenced as a sports photographer, he changed to photojournalism with the intention of showing the brutality of apartheid. He was the first to  photograph a public execution by “necklacing”, the practice of putting a petrol filled tyre over a victim’s arms and chest, then setting it alight. He justified his photographs by saying: 

"I was appalled at what they were doing. I was appalled at what I was doing. But then people started talking about those pictures... then I felt that maybe my actions hadn't been at all bad. Being a witness to something this horrible wasn't necessarily such a bad thing to do." 

He recognised that the media may, in fact, be responsible for the events happening: 

"…the camera completed the last requirement, and acted as a catalyst in this terrible reaction. The strong message that was being sent, was only meaningful if it were carried by the media. … The question that haunts me is 'would those people have been necklaced, if there was no media coverage?" 

In 1993 Carter was in the Sudan when he saw an emaciated Sudanese infant paused to rest whilst struggling towards a feeding centre. A vulture landed nearby. By his own account Carter waited for about 20 minutes, hoping the vulture would spread its wings. When it wouldn’t, he took the above photograph and chased the vulture away.  He then left. 

The photo was sold to the New York Times, prompting hundreds to ask what had happened to the toddler. The newspaper replied that the little girl had had enough strength to walk away from the vulture but it wasn’t known what had happened to her afterwards. 

An alternative account was later given by Joao Silva, a photojournalist who accompanied Carter.  Silva said that the parents of the child were nearby, receiving food from a plane, and had only left the child temporarily. 

The photograph was awarded the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. Carter became a celebrity but inwardly he was still haunted by his demons. Two months after receiving the Pulitzer Price, Carter drove to an area in Johannesburg where he used to play as a child, connected a hose to his car exhaust and took his own life. He left behind a note in which he stated “I'm really, really sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist." 

His note also gives an insight into the horrors in his psyche: 

"I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners...I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky." 

(The reference to Ken is to Ken Oosterbroek.  Oosterbroek was a South African photojournalist and friend of Carter’s who had been killed by friendly fire from peacekeepers near Johannesburg 3 months prior to Carter’s suicide). 

Carter’s legacy is not only his famous photograph. Upon publication, the photo prompted complaints from thousands as to Carter having watched the child for twenty minutes, instead of helping her. It also touched off debates and discussions as to the nature and boundaries of news photography. 

The St. Petersburg Times in Florida summed it up: :

"The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.” 

But is that fair? His task was to record the scene and bring the plight to the attention of the world.  He was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.  His personal demons left him the only way he saw as out. 


Kevin Carter in Africa

See some of Kevin Carter’s brutal images at:

Saturday, October 29, 2022






The word teetotal refers to total abstinence from alcohol consumption.

The word is said to be an example of what is called reduplication, the repetition of the word or the stem of the word, either with or without a slight change.

The word began its life as simply an emphatic way to say total, that is, T Total. The modern equivalent would be to say Total with a Capital T.

Its application to abstinence from alcohol has been attributed to Richard “Dicky” Turner, around 1832 or 1833, who decided to renounce his drunken ways and so attended a local temperance meeting. So sincere was he that he addressed the membership and declared that any and all types of alcohol should be absolutely avoided, in what he called “teetotal abstinence,” and saying “nothing but the teetotal pledge will do.”

Originally the temperance movement didn’t see anything wrong with wine, beer or cider. It was distilled spirituous liquors which were seen as the real evil. The idea of temperance, then, was to abstain from hard liquors. Later, attitudes changed and wine, beer, and cider came to be seen as just as much of a problem as spirits. Therefore the temperance movement began to call for total abstinence from all alcohol-containing beverages., hence Dicky Turner’s call for teetotalism.

c.1874 lithograph by Currier and Ives, titled “Woman’s Holy War. Grand Charge on the Enemy’s Works.” A young woman in armour, bearing an axe and a shield with the stars and stripes and astride a charging horse, leads a group of similarly armed women as they shatter barrels of liquor.



Wowser is an Australian expression, meaning a puritanical or censorious person, in particular a teetotaller or person opposed to alcohol.

The term originated in Australia, at first carrying a similar meaning to "lout" (an annoying or disruptive person, or even a prostitute). Around 1900 it shifted to its present meaning: one whose sense of morality drives them to deprive others of their sinful pleasures, especially liquor. The term was particularly applied to members of temperance groups such as the antipodean branches of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

John Norton, editor of the Australian scandal newspaper, Truth, claimed he first used the word in 1899, a claim supported by the OED. However some authors claim that the present meaning originated from an Australian temperance slogan, "We Only Want Social Evils Remedied." This apparent backronym is considered a "less credible provenance" by the ANU.

"Wowser" was frequently used by artist and author Norman Lindsay, who fought many battles with "wowsers" over the sexual content in his art and writing, the term in this context meaning a person who seeks to deprive others of behaviour deemed to be immoral or sinful.

“The Wowser’s Retinue” by Norman Lindsay, 1932



The spelling whiskey is common in Ireland and the United States, while whisky is used in all other whisky-producing countries. In the US, the usage has not always been consistent. From the late eighteenth century to the mid twentieth century, American writers used both spellings interchangeably until the introduction of newspaper style guides. Since the 1960s, American writers have increasingly used whiskey as the accepted spelling for aged grain spirits made in the US and whisky for aged grain spirits made outside the US.

Within Scotland, the whisky that is made in Scotland is simply called whisky, while outside Scotland (and in the UK regulations that govern its production) it is commonly called Scotch whisky, or simply "Scotch" (especially in North America).

The 15th century alchemists who first used the term aqua vitae were doing so to refer to distilled spirits. Their Latin borrowing has endured in English: aqua vitae is still a generic (and seldom used) term for a strong alcoholic liquor, like brandy.

Whisky is the modern version of the Hiberno-Scots take on aqua vitae. It's a shortening of earlier whiskeybae and usquebaugh, among many other variants, all of which are borrowed from either Irish uisce beathadh or Scottish Gaelic uisge beatha and refer to a drink traditionally distilled from malted barley.


On the topic of whisky . . .

The Secret Whisky Cure

Henry Lawson, 1904

'Tis no tale of heroism, 'tis no tale of storm and strife,
But of ordinary boozing, and of dull domestic life —
Of the everlasting friction that most husbands must endure —
Tale of nagging and of drinking — and a secret whisky cure.

Name of Jones — perhaps you know him — small house-agent here in town —
(Friend of Smith, you know him also — likewise Robinson and Brown),
Just a hopeless little husband, whose deep sorrows were obscure,
And a bitter nagging Missis — and death seemed the only cure.

'Twas a common sordid marriage, and there's little new to tell —
Save the pub to him was Heaven and his own home was a hell:
With the office in between them — purgatory to be sure —
And, as far as Jones could make out — well, there wasn't any cure.

'Twas drink and nag — or nag and drink — whichever you prefer —
Till at last she couldn't stand him any more than he could her.
Friends and relatives assisted, telling her (with motives pure)
That a legal separation was the only earthly cure.

So she went and saw a lawyer, who, in accents soft and low,
Asked her firstly if her husband had a bank account or no;
But he hadn't and she hadn't, they in fact were very poor,
So he bowed her out suggesting she should try some liquor cure.

She saw a drink cure advertised in the Sydney Bulletin —
Cure for brandy, cure for whisky, cure for rum and beer and gin,
And it could be given secret, it was tasteless, swift and sure —
So she purchased half a gallon of that Secret Whisky Cure.

And she put some in his coffee, smiling sweetly all the while,
And he started for the office rather puzzled by the smile —
Smile or frown he'd have a whisky, and you'll say he was a boor —
But perhaps his wife had given him an overdose of Cure.

And he met a friend he hadn't seen for seven years or more —
It was just upon the threshold of a private bar-room door —
And they coalised and entered straight away, you may be sure —
But of course they hadn't reckoned with a Secret Whisky Cure.

Jones, he drank, turned pale, and, gasping, hurried out the back way quick,
Where, to his old chum's amazement, he was violently sick;
Then they interviewed the landlord, but he swore the drink was pure —
It was only the beginning of the Secret Whisky Cure.

For Jones couldn't stand the smell of even special whisky blends,
And shunned bar-rooms to the sorrow of his trusty drinking friends:
And they wondered, too, what evil genius had chanced to lure
Him from paths of booze and friendship — never dreaming of a Cure.

He had noticed, too, with terror that a something turned his feet,
When a pub was near, and swung him to the other side the street,
Till he thought the devils had him, and his person they'd immure
In a lunatic asylum where there wasn't any Cure.

He consulted several doctors who were puzzled by the case —
As they mostly are, but never tell the patient to his face —
Some advised him 'Try the Mountains for this malady obscure:'
But there wasn't one could diagnose a Secret Whisky Cure.

And his wife, when he was sober? — Well, she nagged him all the more!
And he couldn't drown his sorrow in the pewter as of yore:
So he shot himself at Manly and was sat upon by Woore,
And found rest amongst the spirits from the Secret Whisky Cure.

And the moral? — well, 'tis funny — or 'tis woman's way with men —
She's remarried to a publican who whacks her now and then,
And they get on fairly happy, he's a brute and he's a boor,
But she's never tried her second with a Secret Whisky Cure.


By the way:

Henry Lawson (1867 – 1922), iconic Australian writer and bush poet, battled with mental illness and alcoholism. At times destitute, he spent periods in Darlinghurst Gaol and psychiatric institutions, dying in 1922 from a cerebral haemorrhage. His 1896 marriage ended unhappily in 1903, his wife alleging numerous incidents of abuse and domestic violence, and of his problems with alcohol.

Bust of Henry Lawson, Footscray, Victoria.

Friday, October 28, 2022






Enjoy the fun, Byters, the weekend is nearly here . . .




What did Britons use to light their homes before candles?



When I was young, I set a life goal for myself: I will buy a Lamborghini at the age of 40. This year, I’ve finally achieved half of the goal.

I turned 40.


"Our club is looking for a treasurer."

"Didn't you just hire one last month?"

"Yes, that's the one we're looking for."


My son was chewing on electrical cords.

So I had to ground him. Made sure he was conducting himself properly.


Help, someone in Russia is trying to hack my phone

Edit: Sorry, I not hacked. Mother Russia do no such thing. Have good day comrades.


A church advertises a job for a bell ringer.

Several people apply and the minister decides to have auditions to see who rings the bell the best. The last applicant comes in and the minister immediately notices that he has no arms.

"Tell me, son, how do you intend to ring the bell with your disability?"

"It's no problem," the applicant says, "I don't pull on cords. I just climb to the top of the tower and hit the bell with my face. Here, I'll show you." And he climbs up the tower and hits the bell with his face. The minister is amazed, it is the most beautiful, melodic ringing of the bells he has ever heard. But tragically, the man loses his balance and falls from the bell tower, dying immediately.

As the police arrive to investigate, they ask the minister "Who is this man?"

The minister says "I didn't get his name, but his face rings a bell."

The next week, the minister is in his office when someone knocks on his door. "Father," he says, "The man who died here last week was my brother."

"Oh, it was such a tragedy. Are you okay my son?"

"Yes, Father, I am still in grief over my loss, but I've decided to honour my brother. I would like to apply for the bell ringer job. As you can see, I have both of my arms so I don't need to use my face as my brother did."

The minister thinks for a second. "Yes, of course, perhaps you could ring the bells now to show us how you do."

So the man goes to the bell tower and begins pulling the ropes and ringing the bells. Tragically, a loose brick falls from the tower and strikes the man, killing him instantly.

The police again arrive and ask the minister "My word, this is the second death this week. Who is this man?"

The minister says "I don't know, but he's a dead ringer for his brother."



A lawyer boarded an airplane in New Orleans with a box of frozen crabs and asked a blonde flight attendant to take care of them for him. She took the box and promised to put it in the crew's refrigerator.

He advised her that he was holding her personally responsible for them staying frozen, mentioning in a very haughty manner that he was a lawyer, and proceeded to rant at her about what would happen if she let them thaw out.

Needless to say, she was annoyed by his behavior. Shortly before landing in New York, she used the intercom to announce to the entire cabin, "Would the gentleman who gave me the crabs in New Orleans, please raise your hand?"

Not one hand went up ... so she took them home and ate them.



The sermon our bishop, rt revd
Began might have had a rt clevd;
But his talk though consistent
Kept the end so far distant,
We left, for we felt he mt nevd.

Bonus limerick, same theme . . .

There once was a boring young rev,
Who preached till it seemed he would nev.
His hearers, en masse.
Got a pain in the ass
And prayed for relief of their neth.





On a crucifix…why is Jesus always depicted with well defined abs?





I am writing a book about the things I should be doing in life.

It’s an oughttobiography.


I am actually writing the history of my life.

It’s my Ottobiography.


My friend Jason invited me to spend a week with him and his family at their ski lodge.

I wanted to bring gifts. For him, a felt hat. For her felt mittens. For the kids, felt-tipped markers.

I like to make my presents felt.


Time to open a pub that serves nothing but expensive beers and baked beans.

I'll call it Farts & Crafts.


Thursday, October 27, 2022





Frederick II, the King of Prussia from 1740 to 1772, arranged a tour of inspection of the prison in Berlin. The prisoners fell on their knees before him, all vigorously protesting their innocence. One man alone remained silent and aloof.

Frederick called to him, “You there. Why are you here?”

“Armed robbery, Your Majesty.”

“And are you guilty?”

“Yes, indeed, Your Majesty. I entirely deserve my punishment.”

Frederick summoned the warden.

“Guard, release this guilty wretch at once. I will not have him kept in this prison where he will corrupt all the fine innocent people who occupy it.”


The terrain of Greenland is covered mainly with glaciers and barren rock, with only a few patches of tundra and habitable land.

Eric the Red named it Greenland on the principle that colonists would be eager to go there if the country had an attractive name.


I actually heard many years ago of a similar quotation from the Grand Old Duke of York, who reputedly gave advice to his troops:
“Never stand when you can sit,
Never walk when you can ride.
Take a piss whenever you can.”


Douglas Corrigan (1907 – 1995) was an American aviator, nicknamed "Wrong Way" in 1938.

In 1937 Douglas Corrigan applied to the Bureau of Air Commerce for permission to make a solo flight across the Atlantic in his 1929 Curtis-Robin monoplane (nicknamed Lizzy). After inspecting the aircraft the bureau refused permission on the grounds that it could not condone suicide: Lizzy lacked any safety devices, radio, or beam finders, and the extra fuel tanks that Corrigan had put on completely obscured the pilot’s forward view, so he had to look out of the side windows to see where he was going.

Undaunted, Corrigan flew from Los Angeles to New York in 27 hours in mid-July 1938.

Still denied permission, but appearing to accept the official refusal, Corrigan told the airfield manager at New York that he would fly back home to California. Departing on July 17, 1938, Lizzy was so weighed down with fuel that she travelled 3,200 feet along the runway before achieving takeoff.

Just 23 hours and 13 minutes later, Corrigan landed at Baldonnel Airport, Dublin, Ireland. “I’ve just flown from New York,” Corrigan announced to the airport officials. “Not in that thing!” someone said, and told Corrigan where he was.

“My compass froze. I guess I flew the wrong way,” exclaimed the man who shortly (and forever after) would be known as Wrong-Way Corrigan.

He became an instant celebrity on both sides of the Atlantic, receiving a ticker-tape parade in New York.

The Bureau of Air Commerce gave Corrigan only a five-day suspension.


A rider on horseback, many years ago, came upon a squad of soldiers who were trying to move a heavy piece of timber. A corporal stood by, giving lordly orders to “heave.” But the piece of timber was a trifle too heavy for the squad.

“Why don’t you help them?” asked the quiet man on the horse, addressing the important corporal

“Me? Why, I’m a corporal sir!”

Dismounting, the stranger carefully took his place with the soldiers. “Now, all together boys—heave!” he said. And the big piece of timber slid into place. The stranger mounted his horse and addressed the corporal. “The next time you have a piece of timber for your men to handle, corporal, send for the commander-in-chief.”

The horseman was George Washington.


Early in the Revolutionary War, Washington sent one of his officers to requisition horses from the local landowners.

Calling at an old country mansion the officer was received by the elderly mistress of the house. “Madam, I have come to claim your horses in the name of the government,” he began. “On whose orders?” demanded the woman sternly. “On the orders of General George Washington, commander in chief of the American army,” replied the officer.

The old lady smiled. “You go back and tell General George Washington that his mother says he cannot have her horses,” she said.


Shortly after starting a relationship with Yoko Ono, John Lennon took her to meet his aunt Mimi. "He came in all bright and breezy—typical John—and she followed behind," Mimi later recalled. "I took one look at her and thought, 'My God, what is that?'

"Well, I didn't like the look of her right from the start. She had long black hair, all over the place, and she was small—she looked just like a dwarf to me. I told John what I felt while she was outside, looking across the bay. I said to him, 'Who's the poison dwarf, John?'"

Lennon replied, "It's Yoko," and Mimi asked her what she did for a living. "She said, 'I'm an artist,'" Mimi later recalled. "I said, 'That's very funny, I've never heard of you!'"

Mimi also reminded John about the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII, who, after marrying Mrs Wallis Simpson, "lost his popularity, and John, you'd better know that."

"He laughed it off," she later recalled, "but he knew I didn't like her and he knew I was a good judge of character…"

Wednesday, October 26, 2022





One of the things I like to do to relax is to watch items on YouTube that my family consider a total waste of time: garden makeovers with Tm the Lawnmower Man, the campaign in Russia by activists trying to prevent ill mannered drivers using sidewalks to bypass traffic, park etc in Stop a Douchebag SPb, magnet fishing with Bondi Treasure Hunter, woodturning tree roots into bowls . . . and so on.

One such series of videos is by Brendan Kavanagh, playing public piano. Example:

According to Wikipedia:
Brendan Kavanagh (born 1967), also known as "Dr K" due to his PhD in English, is a British pianist and piano teacher of Irish descent. He specialises in playing and promoting the boogie-woogie genre, almost exclusively improvised, often combined with classical, jazz, blues, rock & roll, and traditional Irish music themes. He regularly performs in open venues on public pianos, sometimes in duet formats with musically inclined passers-by or friends. He also plays the piano accordion, with emphasis on traditional Irish tunes.

I was watching some videos when a random Dr K video popped up. It was headed Guitar Girl Shocks Boogie Woogie Pianist and I was entranced watching it. Dr K invited her to join him and this is what happened.

I will offer no comments until you watch the video:

No microphone, no special recording equipment and no special effects or orchestra, on the street in the open air, so pure and so beautiful.

What are your views and comments?


Which started me wondering about the background to Ave Maria and what the Latin lyrics mean in English.



From Songfacts:

The original words of Ave Maria (Hail Mary) were in English, being part of a poem called The Lady of the Lake, written in 1810 by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). The poem drew on the romance of the legend regarding the 5th century British leader King Arthur, but transferred it to Scott's native Scotland.

In 1825 during a holiday in Upper Austria, the composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) set to music a prayer from the poem using a German translation by Adam Storck. Scored for piano and voice, it was first published in 1826 as "D839 Op 52 no 6." Schubert called his piece "Ellens dritter Gesang" (Ellen's third song) and it was written as a prayer to the Virgin Mary from a frightened girl, Ellen Douglas, who had been forced into hiding.

The song cycle proved to be one of Schubert's most financially successful works, the Austrian composer being paid by his publisher 20 pounds sterling, a sizable sum for a musical work in the 1820s. Though not written for liturgical services, the music proved to be inspirational to listeners, particularly Roman Catholics, and a Latin text was substituted to make it suitable for use in church. It is today most widely known in its Latin "Ave Maria" form.

In a letter from Schubert to his father and step-mother he writes about "Ave Maria" and the other songs in his "Lady of the Lake" cycle:
"My new songs from Scott's Lady of the Lake especially had much success. They also wondered greatly at my piety, which I expressed in a hymn to the Holy Virgin and which, it appears, grips every soul and turns it to devotion."
In the UK two versions of "Ave Maria" have reached the Top 40, Shirley Bassey peaking at #31 in 1962 and Lesley Garrett and Amanda Thompson reached #16 in 1993.



Latin lyrics: 

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Maria, gratia plena,
Maria, gratia plena,
Ave, Ave, Dominus,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris (tui),
Ventris tui, Jesus.
Ave Maria!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
Ora, ora pro nobis;
Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
Nunc et in hora mortis,
In hora mortis nostrae.
In hora, hora mortis nostrae,
In hora mortis nostrae.
Ave Maria!

English translation:

Hail Mary, full of grace,
Mary, full of grace,
Mary, full of grace,
Hail, Hail, the Lord
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed,
Blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Thy womb, Jesus.
Hail Mary!

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Pray, pray for us;
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death,
The hour of our death.
The hour, the hour of our death,
The hour of our death.
Hail Mary!


By the way . . .

Boogie Woogie is a style of blues music, with close links to jazz forms like ragtime and stride, usually played on the piano.

The origin of the term 'boogie-woogie' is uncertain. The most likely explanation is that it is a reduplication of 'boogie', which was the name given to a rent party in early 20th century USA. These parties were impromptu affairs, set up (pitched) to raise money to pay rent, at which a small entrance fee was charged. Brian Rust, in his exhaustive directory of recorded jazz music - 'Jazz Records 1897-1942', records this line from a 1929 piece: "We're gonna pitch a boogie right here."