Friday, May 18, 2018

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No Bytes on Sunday . . .


. . . but it will be back on Monday . . .



Thought for the Day



5 Minutes of History: Queen Victoria Assassination Attempts


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Queen Victoria in her carriage, 1892

“It is worth being shot at to see how much one is loved.”
-          Queen Victoria

It is not so well known that Queen Victoria(1819 – 1901),  survived 8 assassination attempts.  Not many leaders have survived more attempts so, in terms of her quotation above, she could see that she was greatly loved.

The attempts . . .
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Edward Oxford
10 June, 1840

On 10 February 1840 Queen Victoria (she was queen from 1837 to her death) married her first cousin, Prince Albert. On 10 June 1840  HRH, four months pregnant (!) and hubby left Buckingham Palace in an open carriage for their regular ride through Hyde Park. Not far outside the palace gates, 18 year old Edward Oxford, described by Albert later as  “a little mean-looking man”,  fired a pair of dueling pistols at them and missed both times.  He later claimed that there were no bullets in the pistols, just gunpowder.  After Oxford was arrested and charged with treason, a jury found that Oxford was not guilty by reason of insanity.  He was sent to Bedlam, where he was a model patient, learning to speak several languages, before moving to Broadmoor in 1864. He was discharged in 1867, deported to Australia and became a pillar of society in Melbourne, where he changed his name to John Freeman (true).  He became a housepainter and author.  Queen Victoria was hostile about the determination and felt that he should have been hanged so that his death would have acted as a deterrent to other potential regicides.

Edward Oxford, 1856


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John Francis
29 May, 1842

Two years later the royal couple were again travelling in their open carriage, this time after attending a Sunday morning service at the royal chapel at St. James’s Palace.  John Francis, who Albert later described as “a little, swarthy, ill-looking rascal”, pointed a flintlock pistol at them and pulled the but the weapon failed to fire. Francis then fled.

John Francis
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John Francis
30 May. 1842

Although HRH wanted to stay inside at Buckingham Palace until Francis was caught, the authorities had a much better idea, that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert should go out again the next day in their open carriage as bait to flush out Francis.   Albert subsequently wrote to his father “You may imagine that our minds were not very easy.  We looked behind every tree, and I cast my eyes round in search of the rascal’s face.” Plain-clothed officers with a description of the suspect scoured the crowd but then a shot suddenly rang out just five paces from the carriage. Police tackled Francis, whose shot had missed.  He was sentenced to be hanged and quartered before the Queen commuted his sentence to banishment for life.

John Francis’s second attempt.
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John William Bean
-   3 July, 1842

Five weeks after Francis’s bungled assassination attempts, 17-year-old John William Bean waited for the queen’s procession as it left Buckingham Palace to travel the short trip to the nearby royal chapel.  Bean, a stunted hunchback, understandably was unhappy with his life.  He wanted a change, any change, even a prison sentence.  As the royal carriage passed, Bean pulled out a pistol and pulled the trigger but the gun didn’t fire.  Weren’t there any firearms in London that worked??  A bystander grabbed his wrist but he escaped.  There weren’t that many four foot hunchbacks in London although hunchbacks were rousted for weeks afterwards.  That night Bean was arrested at the family home.  Bean said the Queen’s life was never in danger as his pistol was loaded with more tobacco than gunpowder and pointed to the ground. He was sentenced to 18 months of hard labor.
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William Hamilton
19 June, 1849

On the above date, in the evening of the official commemoration of her birthday, Queen Victoria rode through Hyde and Regent’s Park with three of her children, including the future King Edward VII. Nine years earlier Edward Oxford had stood in the same position as William Hamilton now stood.  Hamilton fired at the carriage as it passed but no one was injured and Hamilton was captured.  Hamilton, an unemployed bricklayer, had moved from Ireland to London 9 years earlier at the time of the Great Hunger.   He told the police he had fired the gun loaded only with powder “for the purpose of getting into prison, as he was tired of being out of work.” He pled guilty and was banished to the prison colony of Gibraltar for seven years.

Sketch from the London News of Hamilton’s attempt on the life of Queen Victoria
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Robert Pate
27 June, 1850

On the above date, Queen Victoria and three of her children were visiting her dying uncle at Cambridge House.  Pate, a former British Army officer who had descended into insanity, came upon the Queen in her carriage as he was walking and as she was leaving. Pate hit her on the forehead with his cane, raising a welt and blackening her eye.  As the crowd manhandled the attacker, the Queen stood up and proclaimed, “I am not hurt.”  Her black eye and welt showed otherwise.  although the immense bruise on the right side of her head and the black eye later proved otherwise. Pate, who was the only potential assassin to harm the queen, was sentenced to seven years in the penal colony of Tasmania.   (In 1842 the Security of Her Majesty’s Person Act had lowered the punishment to whipping and seven years’ imprisonment or transportation.)


 Btw, nearly half a century later, on New Year’s Day 1899, Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper reported in an article entitled “Notoriety of a Stick” that what was apparently Pate’s weapon was to be sold at auction in London.  The Queen was not amused.  A quiet word was sent from the Palace to the auction house. The cane was withdrawn from sale and it has never come before the public since.
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Arthur O’Connor
29 February, 1872

If you are starting to sense patterns and repetitions in these assassination attempts, then the next will only confirm it further.

Seventeen year old Irish nationalist Arthur O’Connor had dreams of being an Irish martyr to the Fenian cause.  On 29 February 1872 he scaled the fence at Buckingham Palace and ran across the courtyard without being detected.  Her Maj had been on a carriage ride in Hyde Park for Leap Year Day.  When she returned to the palace entrance, O’Connor rushed up to the side of the carriage and pointed his flintlock  pistol only 30 cm (one foot) from her.  John Brown, the queen’s personal servant, seized the teenager by the neck and tackled him to the ground as the queen was rushed to safety.  O’Connor’s pistol was broken and unusable  but this was not known to Victoria or John Brown.  O’Connor declared that he never intended to kill Queen Victoria, only to frighten her into signing a document that would release Irish political prisoners being held in British jails. Brown received a medal for his heroism. O’Connor received a year in prison, 20 strokes with a birch rod and exile to Australia.

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Roderick Maclean
2 March, 1882

The only man who fired at the Queen with a loaded gun was Roderick Maclean, her last attacker, who ambushed her in her carriage as she emerged from Windsor station after arriving by train from London. The queen wrote later, “there was the sound of what I thought was an explosion from the engine, but in another moment, I saw people rushing about and a man being violently hustled, rushing down the street.” Roderick Maclean, who had fired the shot at the queen, was set upon by a group of nearby Eton students and pummeled with their umbrellas.  After his arrest, Maclean explained that his action was the result of the frustration he felt after sending the Queen a number of poems he had written that were not accepted by her.  At the time it was not uncommon for struggling artists to solicit patronage from the aristocracy, including the head of the Monarchy.

During Maclean’s sentencing, he was found not guilty of high treason, but insane. The sentence bothered the Queen so much, she established a new law known as “Trial of the Lunatics Act 1883.” Under the new law, the same procedures would be enacted, but a sentence of insanity would read, “guilty, but insane.”

MacLean spent the rest of his life in an asylum. 





Quote for the Day



Funny Friday


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There is a wedding taking place this weekend . . . 


. . . so Funny Friday has a smattering of wedding and marriage jokes, plus a few punny Sherlock Holmes ones. 

Enjoy the post and spare a thought for poor Meghan as she heads towards what should be one of life’s happy moments. Unfortunately she has become a player in what the Press is calling the Markle Debacle. 

“You can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family, an' they're still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge 'em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don't.” 

― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

Caution: risque content included.
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“But, Holmes, what kind of rock could be formed by deposition and consolidation of mineral and organic material and from the precipitation of minerals from a solution?” 

“Sedimentary, my dear Watson. Sedimentary” 
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I got ran over by a hire van earlier. Fucking Hertz. 
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I tried to re-marry my ex-wife. 

But she figured out I was only after my money. 
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It’s been raining for days now and my husband seems very depressed by it. 

He keeps standing by the window, staring. If it continues, I’m going to have to let him in. 
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I just kicked the living shit out of the Carpet Court salesman. 

He said to my missus as bold a brass "Would you like a twist carpet, deep pile or a shag?" 
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One day, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were doing their usual investigative business, when they uncovered an unusual painting. 

At first glance, it looked like a picture of normal oak tree, in the middle of a wilderness, but if one looked closer, one could see that it was a remarkable painting. The tree trunk was actually made of fire, and its branches were made of ice, clouds and earth. 

"What is it, Holmes?" asked Watson in awe. 

"It's an Element tree, my dear Watson," replied Holmes. 
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A journalist goes to a poor remote village for a documentary. 

He saw an old man and asked him to narrate a typical happy story of his village. 

The old man smiled and began: "One day, a long time ago, my goat got lost in the mountains. As is our tradition, all the men of the village gathered to drink vodka first and then looked for the goat. When we finally found her, as is our tradition, we all drank some more vodka and all the men in the village each got their turn to mate with the goat. We had so much fun that day!" 

The journalist realized that he couldn't publish such a story so he asked the old man if he had another happy story. 

The old man smiled again and started all over again: "Once, my neighbor’s wife got lost in the mountains. As per our tradition, all of the village's men gathered to drink vodka and then went to look for her. As is our tradition, when we finally found her, all the men in the village got their turn to mate with the neighbor’s wife. We had great fun that day!" 

The journalist couldn't publish that story either and therefore asked: "Don't you have a story that is less happy; something... umm ... sadder?" 

The old man's smile faded. His eyes welled up..... In a sad, soft voice he began: 

“One day I got lost in the mountains.....” 
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Gallery:






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Corn Corner: 
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Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were called to a park in London to investigate a crime involving an unusual tree. The ABC Tree, as it was called, had the unique ability to actually grow all the letters of the alphabet. Shockingly, however, it seemed that someone had plucked most of the letters from the tree. 

Watson approached the tree and examined it closely. "My goodness, Holmes!" he exclaimed. "It appears that some ne'er-do-well has stolen all but the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth letters of the alphabet. What do you make of that, Holmes?" 

Holmes sucked at his pipe contemplatively for a moment before answering, "Why, it's an LMN Tree, my dear Watson." 
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Dr. Watson arrives at 221-B Baker Street and is stunned to find his friend, Sherlock Holmes, out front, in an overall, applying a bright, yellow gloss to the front door. 

"Holmes, what is it?" asks the curious Watson. 

"A lemon entry, my dear Watson," replies Holmes.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Anecdote for the Day

From Byter David B, in England . . . 


Your story about Frank Hayes winning a horse race whilst dead reminds me of a story told by Herbert Farjeon about a village cricketer. 

Whilst facing a fast bowler he was struck on the head by a bouncer and killed, the ball dropping omto the wicket, breaking it. The question which was earnestly debated between umpire and scorer was whether he had been killed instantly in which case he would be recorded as retired (dead) or whether he survived for a few second in which case he would be out (bowled). This was crucial because it determined whether the batsman's lifetime average was above or below 50. 

HF does not reword the result of the enquiry.


Thanks, David.


20 Design Fails

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The following selection, includiing headings and selected public comments, are from Bored Panda at: https://www.boredpanda.com/worst-design-fails/

Caution: risque content included.
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I'd Better Get That Ticket Before It's Too Late 


Comments: 

Suddenly the ticket option seems a lot better. 

This is not a design fail. Just a funny pic. 
Kind of a design fail, since you can't read the entire sign... 
It's a sign fail 
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Kansas City Really Lets Tourists Have A Good Time 


Comment: 

No wonder Dorothy left 
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It's Pretty Good Advice 


Comments: 

Okay, so we can only run over 20 children max. Got it. 

Oh, what a relief! I only have 19. 
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I Present To You The "Graeme Clark Oration Award For Science Innovation". It's Supposed To Be Two Hands Peeling Away Layers Of The Earth 


Comments: 

Also used at the college of midwives 

and possibly gynecologists. 
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This Guy Must Be Feeling Pretty Great On This Ad 


Comments: 

Just wait until the exhaust pours out for the full effect. 

he looks exhausted... 
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Happy Wedding Shower, Jana. Love The Sign! 


Comments: 

ok...so backwards it is different. from behind, that is 

Pun intended? 
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Never Get High On Your Own Supply 


Comments: 

*flipping through the dictionary, sees the photo under "irony", is at peace* 

This one took me a minute, hahaha! 
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This Is Why You Can't Put Spelling Questions On A Laptop Test 

Comments: 

I bet you'd still find people giving the wrong answer anyways. I remember someone interviewing people in the street asking for the first name of Barack Obama. They used his full name asking the question. A lot of people where still thinking it over. Lol 
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In Honor Of Passover This Weekend 

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Apparently Incest Is Perfectly Fine 

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Um . . . 


Comments: 

You want a wall there? Fine, I'll give you a wall 
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Who's Bright Idea Was It To Undercoat The Wood Chipper Red? 


Comments: 

That’s not an undercoat.... 

Looks like Dexter used it! 
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Bonus Level 


Comments: 

Literally 'water closet’ 

Ahh yes, the emergency urinal. 
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"You're Gonna Pay For That Free Coffee, Aren't You?" 

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Would Anyone Like A Bag Of Mice? 


Comments: 

it's ok, they have a stuffed black cat on the case! 

Great, now I don't have to go to the pet store to get frozen mice to feed my snakes 
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This "M" On A Kids Menu Activity 


Comments: 

What bothers me is J, U, and Q are missing. Juq’s on YOUU HA GOTIIII 

There’s no N. J, Q, U and a spinal chord in this photo 

Why am I more disturbed that there are several letters missing? 
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The Penis Mightier Than The Sword 


Comments: 

Kerning is important. 
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Now That's Just A Bad Logo. Period. 


Comments: 

She sneezed. 

That takes bad to a new level