Monday, July 22, 2024





Douglas Malloch (1877 – 1938) was an American poet and short-story writer known as a "Lumberman's poet". Malloch was born in Muskegon, Michigan which was known as a centre of the lumbering industry. He grew up amidst the forest, logging camps, sawmills and lumber yards and became known for his simple poems which often depict different ways life can be lived and how the most fulfilling lives come to be.

The following narrative poem is almost like a poetic Aesop’s Fable, with themes of love, regret, sorrow, forgiveness and impermanence.

(A Norway is a Norway spruce, a large, fast-growing evergreen coniferous tree growing 35–55 m (115–180 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of 1 to 1.5 m. The species used as the main Christmas tree in several countries around the world.)

The Widow-Maker

    Douglas Malloch

A loose limb hangs upon a pine three log-lengths from the ground,
A norway tumbles with a whine and shakes the woods around.
The loose limb plunges from its place and zigzags down below;
And Jack is lying on his face—there's red upon the snow.

They'll dress him in a cotton shirt, they'll cross his horny hands;
They'll dig a hollow in the dirt within the forest lands;
They'll put him in a wooden box; they'll wonder whence he came,
And build a monument of rocks without a date or name.

"He got a letter, that I know." "I wonder where it is."
"I heard him speak not long ago about a wife of his."
"Employment agent shipped him up he didn't have a cent."
"He was a most peculiar pup." "He was a gloomy gent."

And so they'll talk around the fire a little longer yet;
But even idle tongues will tire, and even men forget.
A season passes, and a year. "Why, yes, now thinkin' back,
A widow-maker hit him here. We used to call him Jack."

And far away, 'mid city streets Jack staggers down no more,
A heart, a woman's, madly beats, each knock upon the door.
She's back with mother in the flat. She thought she wouldn't care.
Why does she always jump like that, each step upon the stair?

"For anger burns so quick a flame the year that you are wed.
I said some things just as they came I never should have said.
It takes a little time, I guess, the married life to live—
To want your way a little less, to suffer and forgive."

They'll dress him in a cotton shirt, they'll cross his horny hands;
They'll dig a hollow in the dirt within the forest lands;
They'll put him in a wooden box; they'll wonder whence he came,
And build a monument of rocks without a date or name.

Sunday, July 21, 2024





Aesop's Fables, or the Aesopica, is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with his name have descended to modern times through a number of sources and continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic media. The fables originally belonged to the oral tradition and were not collected for some three centuries after Aesop's death. By that time a variety of other stories, jokes and proverbs were being ascribed to him.


The Ant and the Chrysalis


‘chrysalis’ –

A pupa is the life stage of insects that undergo a complete metamorphous from embryo, larva, pupa to imago or adult. Beetles, flies, ants, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, fleas and caddisflies are the most well-known insects that undergo this change.

Most are just called pupa but butterfly pupas are called chrysalis.

A cocoon is made out of silk that a moth caterpillar spins around itself then pupates inside.


The tale:

An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change. The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive. 

“Poor, pitiable animal!” cried the Ant disdainfully. “What a sad fate is yours! While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail.” 

The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply. 

A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained. Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly. 

“Behold in me,” said the Butterfly, “your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen.” 

So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.


Appearances are deceptive.

Before giving advice to others know all the facts.





Often, in Bytes as in life, one thing leads to another.

I started this post with an anecdote about a dog peeing on a bomb and continued the chain of topics and references to arrive at a cat and boots.

Blue Cross is a registered animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom, founded in 1897. The charity provides veterinary care, offers expert behavioural help, and finds homes for pets in need. Their pet bereavement service supports those who are struggling to cope with the loss of a much-loved pet.

The charity works closely with a number of other organisations to help animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

Medals have been awarded by Blue Cross to animals and people who have demonstrated bravery or heroism. While the first medals were awarded to people who helped to rescue animals, medals are now awarded as well to animals, first awarded in 1918 to honour a number of horses which had served in the First World War.


Juliana (died 1946) was a medal-winning Great Dane. She was awarded two Blue Cross medals, the first for extinguishing an incendiary bomb and the second for alerting her masters to a fire that had started in their shop. In September 2013 the second of these medals, along with a portrait of Juliana, sold at auction for £1,100. The discovery and sale of these items uncovered the story of Juliana's heroic acts.

She was awarded her first Blue Cross medal for her actions in respect of an incendiary bomb which had fallen through the roof of a house in April 1941 during the Blitz, the house being where Juliana and her owners lived. Juliana stood over the bomb and urinated on it, extinguishing the fire and preventing it from spreading.


The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom, in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War.

'Blitz' is an abbreviation of the German word ‘blitzkrieg’, meaning ‘lightning war’. The term ‘Blitz’ was first used by the British press.

The Luftwaffe’s almost continual aerial bombardment of the British Isles from September 1940 to May 1941resulted in heavy civilian losses. The Blitz made the home front the battlefront and it was not until the autumn of 1942 that the death toll of British soldiers exceeded the death toll of civilians.

In the eight months of attacks, some 43,000 civilians were killed. This amounted to nearly half of Britain’s total civilian deaths for the whole war. One of every six Londoners was made homeless at some point during the Blitz, and at least 1.1 million houses and flats were damaged or destroyed.

A milkman delivering milk in a London street devastated during a German bombing raid. Firemen are dampening down the ruins behind him.

Blitzkrieg, meaning ‘lightning war in German, is a term used to describe a method of offensive warfare designed to strike a swift, focused blow at an enemy using mobile, maneuverable forces, including armored tanks and air support. Such an attack ideally leads to a quick victory, limiting the loss of soldiers and artillery.

Most famously, blitzkrieg describes the successful tactics used by Nazi Germany in the early years of World War II, as German forces swept through Poland, Norway, Belgium, Holland and France with astonishing speed and force.

Though Germany’s quick victories in 1939 and 1940 remain the most famous examples of blitzkrieg, military historians have pointed to later blitzkrieg-inspired operations, including the combined air and ground attacks by Israel against Arab forces in Syria and Egypt during the Six-Day War in 1967, and the Allied invasion of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War.

Winston Churchill visits bomb-damaged Birmingham, England, during the Blitz.

The number of reindeer characters, and the names given to them (if any) vary in different versions, but those frequently cited in the United States and Canada are the eight listed in Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, the work that is largely responsible for the reindeer becoming popularly known. In the original poem, the names of the reindeer are given as Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem.

The names Dunder and Blixem derive from Dutch words for thunder and lightning, respectively. The German spellings "Donner" and "Blitzen" are now used and help it to rhyme with "Vixen".

The modern German spelling of "Donner" came into use only in the early 20th century, well after Moore's death.

The eight reindeer, as they appeared in a handwritten manuscript of A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore from the 1860s.

The first reference to Santa's sleigh being pulled by a reindeer appears in "Old Santeclaus with Much Delight", an 1821 illustrated children's poem published in New York. The names of the author and the illustrator are not known. The poem, with eight colored lithographic illustrations, was published by William B. Gilley as a small paperback book entitled The Children's Friend: A New-Year's Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve. The illustration to the first verse features a sleigh with a sign saying "REWARDS" being pulled by an unnamed single reindeer.

Illustration to the first verse of "Old Santeclaus with Much Delight", 1821

The popularity of Robert L. May's 1939 storybook Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Gene Autry's 1949 Christmas song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", resulted in Rudolph often being included as the ninth character.

Gene Autry's recording of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts the week of Christmas 1949.

The song had been suggested as a "B" side for a record Autry was making. He first rejected it, but his wife convinced him to use it. The success of the Christmas song gave support to Autry's subsequent popular Easter song, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail".


Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (1907 – 1998), nicknamed the Singing Cowboy, was an American actor, musician, singer, composer, rodeo performer, and baseball team owner, who largely gained fame by singing in a crooning style on radio, in films, and on television for more than three decades, beginning in the early 1930s. During that time, he personified the straight-shooting hero — honest, brave, and true.

Publicity photo of Gene Autry for his appearance at a banquet to announce a contest for the Seattle Packing Company-Bar-S brand.

Apart from being one of the most important pioneering figures in the history of country music, along with Jimmie Rodgers, he is also still remembered for his association with Christmas music, having debuted not only "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" but also "Frosty the Snowman", and "Here Comes Santa Claus".

Autry served in the U. S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Part of his military service included his broadcast of a radio show for one year; it involved music and true stories. Several decades ago on an early afternoon show featuring Republic westerns, one of Gene's sidekicks said that when Gene told Republic Pictures of his intentions to join the military during World War II, Republic threatened to promote Roy Rogers as "King of the Cowboys" in Gene's absence, which it did. Republic reissued old Autry westerns during the war years, to keep his name before the public.


Roy Rogers bought himself a pair of custom made, hand tooled, ornate boots.

That night, as he was drifting off to sleep, a cat outside his window began to yowl loudly. As much as he tried, Roy couldn’t get to sleep, so he threw one of his boots at it. The cat kept mewling and Roy threw the other boot.

The next morning, Roy went outside to retrieve his new boots and was dismayed to discover that the cat had clawed, eaten and generally made a total mess of both.

An angry Roy put an ad in Variety offering a reward to whoever could deliver him the offending cat.

The following morning the doorbell rang and Bing Crosby stood there, holding a cat by the scruff of its neck. 

Bing sang “Pardon me Roy, is this the cat that chewed your new shoes?”

Friday, July 19, 2024





Next batter up in the hometowns of overseas Byters/contributors, David and Gill B, vintage pics of their hometown, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, Scotland.


About the locale:

Kirkintilloch is a town and former barony burgh in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It lies on the Forth and Clyde Canal and on the south side of Strathkelvin, about 8 miles (13 km) northeast of central Glasgow. Its long name is often shortened by locals to the colloquial Kirkie or Kirky.

The first known settlement on the site of what is now Kirkintilloch was a Roman fort established in what is now the Peel Park area of the town. Dating from the mid-2nd century, the Antonine Wall, one of the northernmost frontiers in Roman Britannia was routed through Kirkintilloch; its course continues through the centre of the town to this day, although little trace can now be seen above ground.

St Mary's church, Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire.
The Church was completed in 1914 at a cost of £15,000 to house the congregation of St Mary’s, who can trace their roots back to 1190 and the St Ninian’s Church beside the Old Aisle Graveyard.

There is no strong evidence of habitation on the site for the following thousand years until Clan Cumming established a castle and church there in the 12th century. A small settlement grew and was granted burgh status in 1211, becoming an important staging post for west–east journeys from Glasgow to eastern and north-eastern Scotland. From this time, a weekly market was held in the town.

The original Cumming parish church, St Ninian's, was constructed around 1140.

Following the Scottish victory in the wars of independence and the subsequent decline of Clan Cumming, the baronies of Kirkintilloch, Lenzie, and Cumbernauld were granted by Robert Bruce to Sir Malcolm Fleming, Sheriff of Dumbarton and a supporter of the Bruce faction in the war.

On 3 January 1746, the retreating Jacobite army of Charles Stuart made its way through Kirkintilloch, on its way back from Derby, and on the march to Falkirk and ultimately Culloden. One of the Highland army's stragglers was shot dead at the town cross by a man hidden in a barn at the Kiln Close (where the library now stands). On hearing of the murder, Charles halted his army on the Kilsyth road and threatened to turn back and burn the town. The town magistrates persuaded him to continue marching, in return for an unspecified payment, and the town was spared.

The town was one of the hotbeds of the Industrial Revolution in Scotland, beginning with the emergence of a booming textile industry in the area. With the construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal through the town in 1773, and the establishment of the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway in 1826, Kirkintilloch developed further as an important transportation hub, inland port and production centre for iron, coal, nickel and even small ships. This industrial heritage lives on in the town's designation as the "Canal Capital of Scotland", and in the redevelopment of the canal and surrounding former industrial sites in the early 21st century.

Kirkintilloch was a "dry town" for much of its recent history, with the sale of alcohol on public premises banned from 1923 until 1967. The prohibition on the sale of alcohol had long been demanded by the Liberal Party and the temperance movement, both of which had a strong influence in the town in the early part of the 20th century, largely due to the perceived negative effects of alcohol on the town's inhabitants.

(Who would have thought it? Scots banned from having alcohol!!!)

Kirkintilloch today:

War Memorial marble Archway

See a video by clicking on:



Undated card of Kirkintilloch main street, The Cowgate, with the fantastic Alexanders Stores, where generations of children obtained straw for their rabbit hutches at the side door in the Broadcroft where the china, etc., was unpacked. The Watson Fountain Monument stands in front of the store.

Eastside Kirkintilloch, looking East.

Kirkintilloch, High Street c.1895

Kirkintilloch town centre, showing the town hall, Regent Gardens and Mooney's ladies outfitters (with sunshade), with the town clock in the background. Undated, 50s to early 60s.

The Cross, Kirkintilloch, 1928.
A rare old photo of the Kirkintilloch Cross taken from the road up to the Peel Park. The first two buildings on the left are still here, the next two have been demolished to be replaced by the new library. The Black Bull Cinema with the peaked white gable has been turned into a night club.

Eastside, Kirkintilloch, 1928.
Eastside view looking towards the Cross and the town clock steeple. The Co-operative grocery store is now the undertakers. Apart from the sweet shop on the left with the tobacco advertising the rest of the buildings up to the Luggie bridge are still here.

A view of St Mary's Church, Townhead, Kirkintilloch. The building on the right is the police station (now a Wetherspoon's pub, The Puffer) and the gates to shut traffic off when the canal bridge is opened are shown. The Post Office is on the left. It's now Nonna's Kitchen restaurant. Undated card, but likely 1940-1950s. The building between the police station and the church is the bridge-keeper's house.

Kirkintilloch's Cowgate in quieter times.
The card is postmarked 1949. The buildings on the left were pulled down to be replaced by new shops and a small shopping mall. The famed Alexanders Stores is in the centre of the picture behind the Guthrie Fountain. The woman with the bag is just approaching Queen Street.

Bishopriggs, Kirkintilloch Road looking towards Bishopbriggs Cross, 1938.
This area of Bishopbriggs is usually referred to as 'The Village' by locals.

Industry Street, Kirkintilloch, 1934
The majority of the houses shown have been pulled down and replaced by new-builds with the new Parliament Road cutting through them and joining Waterside Road. The two houses on the far right remain intact.

Kirkintilloch West High Street and Barony Chambers, 1907
View of Kirkintilloch Cross looking north up the hill on a tinted postcard. The building on the left has become a small public park with toilets before new flatted housing was built on the site. It's obviously before the time the town went 'dry' (1920-1968) as you can see ''Ye Olde Wine and Spirit Company'' advert on the side of the building in the middle of the scene.

Townhead Bridge, Kirkintilloch, 1937
The large building on the left-hand corner was the police station. It has now become a Wotherspoons pub. The police office has moved to a fenced compound on the outskirts of the town. The sandstone building on the right was owned by the Co-operative Society and one of their shops is seen here. This is the old bridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal. The buildings are still the same today, just the type of shops have changed.

A Big Hat Day in Kirkintilloch.

Old photograph of Luggie Bridge in Kirkintilloch, Scotland.

Railway Station Kirkintilloch Sccotland, undated
This Scottish train station was opened by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, the station passed to the North British Railway in 1858, the London and North Eastern Railway in the 1923 Grouping, and then to the Scottish Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. It was then closed by the British Railways Board in September

Alexandra Street, Kirkintilloch, 1928.
Exactly the same today with this view looking down Alexandra Street towards St. David's and Park Memorial Church. Kirkintilloch Bowling Club is behind the hedge on the left.

Old photograph of a horse and cart, Tram and shops on Main Street in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, Scotland. This part of Scotland was once in the historic parish of Cadder, originally lands granted by King William the Lion to the Bishop of Glasgow, Jocelin, in 1180. Bishopbriggs' close geographic proximity to Glasgow now effectively makes it a suburb and commuter town of the city.

Kirkintilloch Railway Station, 1956
With steam train 67667 heading towards Glasgow. The station was a victim of the Beeching rail cuts of the 1960s.

Hope you enjoyed that Dave, Gill.

Thursday, July 18, 2024




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Welcome to some humour to brighten your day, folks.

A varied selection but of course the big news is Donald Trump, so some ear humour as well today.


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Forrest Gump was a baby boomer, but what about his girlfriend?

She was Gen-A...

A man goes to a friend's funeral.
The man's widow asks him to say a couple words.
He nods his head, steps up to the podium and says "Car Park."
The widow replies "That means a lot. Thank you."

Doctor to Husband -
Doctor : Your wife is in hospital.
Husband: How is she ?
Doctor : She's critical !
Husband : Yeah you get used to that.

An inventor was at the patent office, registering his new range of collapsible containers.
"The first thing I'd like to register is this folding bottle," he said.
"What's it called?" asked the clerk.
"A fottle. It's short for folding bottle."
"I see. Anything else?"
"Yes, I also have this folding carton, which I call a farton," replied the inventor.
"I'm not sure we can allow that. Some people might think it sounds a bit rude."
"Ah. Then you're going to hate the name of my folding bucket"

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The Lone Ranger is riding Silver across the plains when up ahead he sees Tonto's horse Scout, without Tonto aboard. He rides up to Scout and sees Tonto on all fours with his ear to the ground.

"Tonto, what are you doing?" the Ranger says.

"Mmmm..." replies Tonto. "Wagon, two people. Man, 25 moons old, woman 21 moons. Two children. Four horses...two white, one brown, one black."

"You can tell all that just by listening to the ground?" the Ranger exclaims, astonished.

"No," Tonto answers, "run over me, half hour ago...."


The Lone Ranger and Tonto were riding across the prairie. Tonto got down from his horse and put his ear to the ground, looked at the Lone Ranger and said, "Buffalo come."

The Lone Ranger looked at him and said, "Wow, that's amazing! How did you figure that out?"

Tonto looked at the Lone Ranger and said, "Ear sticky!"

From Bytes Nov 11, 2011:

Andreas Nikolaous “Niki” Lauda was born in 1949 in Austria and became a race driver against the wishes of his wealthy family. In 1975, driving for Ferrari, he won the World Championship. Lauda was well in the points score lead in 1976 when he crashed on the second lap in the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, an event he had sought to have boycotted by the other drivers because of inadequate safety arrangements. His car hit the embankment and rolled back onto the track, then was hit by another car. Lauda was trapped in his burning vehicle and suffered severe burns to his head. He also inhaled toxic gases that cauterised his lungs and damaged his blood and had various broken bones. Although the burns caused extensive scarring, he elected not to have cosmetic surgery, having only enough reconstructive work done to cause his eyelids to close properly. His courage and his scarring have become his most well known attributes. Lauda has lost most of his right ear and has extensive head scarring, resulting in his trademark wearing of a cap.

Niki Lauda in 1976, pre-crash

Niki Lauda today


A snake and a rabbit met each other in the dark.
“What do you look like?”, the snake asked.
“I've got long ears, two big hind legs and a fluffy tail.”
“Aha”, the snake said, “then you must be a rabbit.”
“Yes, I am. What do you look like?” the rabbit asked.
“I'm bald all over my body and I've got no ears” the snake said.
“Ah.” the rabbit said, “then you must be Niki Lauda.”


Prior to the 2006 German Grand Prix, Lauda, Bernie Ecclestone and others walked to the old Nurburgring and had a drink at the point where Lauda had crashed in 1976. Bernie had earlier planted a pig’s ear in the grass. When he was there with Niki Lauda, he picked up the object, held it up and said “Niki, I’ve found your ear.” It was reportedly taken in good humour by Lauda.

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There was a young lass from Bryn Mawr
Who committed a dreadful faux pas;
She loosened a stay
On her decollete
Thus exposing her je ne sais quoi.

(je ne sais quoi: French for 'I don't know what', a pleasing quality that cannot be exactly named or described)

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Thanks for these Leo:

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What do you call a bear missing an ear?

A b

What do you get when you cross an atheist with a Jehovah's Witness?

Someone who's out knocking on doors for no apparent reason.

A truck loaded with thousands of copies of Roget's Thesaurus crashed yesterday losing its entire load.

Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied, confused, shocked, rattled, paralysed, dazed, bewildered, mixed up, surprised, awed, dumbfounded, nonplussed, flabbergasted, astounded, amazed, confounded, astonished, overwhelmed, horrified, numbed, speechless, and perplexed.

Got my COVID test today. It said 50. What does that mean?

Also, my IQ test came back positive.

They say that nothing lasts forever, but YouTube has just proven that to be incorrect.

Their bloody ads do.

How many ears did Mr Spock have?

A left ear, a right ear and a final front ear.

Where’d you get shot, Mr Trump?

Right ‘ere.

A man goes to see his doctor because he has a lettuce leaf sticking out of his ear.

"Hmmm," the doctor says, "that's strange."

The guy replies, "I know. And that's just the tip of the iceberg."