Thursday, April 24, 2014

Doors, Signs and Mats

"What will I do a post on for Bytes for tomorrow?" I asked trivia team member Wayne at triv last night. "Pictures of front doors," he said, "They're interesting." Wayne and I must define "interesting" differently, but, rising to the challenge, I started looking at pics of front doors . . .

. . .but my attention then drifted to front door signs . . .

. . . and then to front doormats (most of the pics being from advertisements for sale of doormats) . . .

An ambigram

More doormats next week.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

Dead Man Walking

The phrase "dead man walking" was used by death row prison officers in the US to clear hallways to allow the condemned person to walk to his execution place. Often the warden would be the person leading and calling out "Dead man walking! Dead man walking here!" The term is no longer used in prisons in that context but remains in use with a broader meaning to indicate someone in a losing situation eg someone still working where job loss is imminent. It is also the name of a 1996 film in which Sean Penn plays a prisoner on Death Row.

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Barak and Michelle Obama fist bump after securing the Democratic nomination in 2008

Fist Bump:

Whilst it is known that the handshake begat the "gimme-five" palm slap, which begat the "high-five", which begat the fist bump, the actual how, when and where of the fist bump is murky.

Some claims to the origin:
  • That it began in the 1970s with NBA players like Baltimore Bullets guard Fred Carter bumping knuckles.
  • That it originated with the Wonder Twins, minor characters in the 1970s Hanna-Barbera superhero cartoon The Superfriends, who touched knuckles and cried "Wonder Twin powers, activate!” before morphing into animals or ice sculptures. 
  • That Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel reportedly adopted the gesture as a friendly way to avoid his contestants' germs.
  • That fist bumping first appeared in America in the 1940s, as biker gangs were becoming popular in southwestern areas of the United States. Motorcyclists sitting next to each other at traffic lights would be unable to perform a proper handshake, due to riding stance, so a quick bump of closed fists was an easier way to greet a fellow rider at a stop. 
  • That the first documented instance of the fist bump occurred among ancient Greek charioteers as a friendly greeting after finishing a race.

Btw: In the US the third Thursday in April every year is national High-Five Day. That was 17 April, oh well, there's always next year.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mea Culpa

If Byters note some glitches in the way material is posted, bear with me, some computer and site problems are being ironed out.  In the meantime, enjoy the post which follows this announcement.

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Calligraffiti and More

Niels Meulman is a Dutch visual artist, graffiti writer, graphic designer and art director who has developed an art form he calls Calligraffiti, a fusion of calligraphy and graffiti. Some of his work is in street art form, others in formal art works that are featured in galleries and private collections. Here are some:

Here is a video of Meulman illustrating calligraffiti using a broom and water, fascinating:


Some other examples of street calligraphy . . .

   (The one above is worth working out).

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Miscellany

Monday Miscellany . . . some odds, ends and personals.

Caution: risque content included

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From Martin, in respect of the post on Domes


You missed out on the famous Bini Domes that were inflicted on us High School Students in NSW.
As a Pittwater High boy, we were plagued by one of these monstrosities

This was no magic bullet, the building of fast and quick buildings that Dr Bini and his cabal promised.

1) The foundations, pounded in by Frankipile for months.
2) Inflation – 3 hours
3) Setting – 3 days
4) Months and months of preparation of the building
And we ended up with a dome that had the acoustics of an echo chamber. What was the solution, from what I gather, sprayed asbestos fibre on the interior.
The round walls meant that nothing fitted inside it properly

Additional conventional wings were added to provide storage and facility space that the dome could not offer – so it was not really a dome after all

The Bini dome leaked, and so required constant repairs to the weatherproofing.

Heating and lighting was a nightmare. The mercury lights in the dome could be switched on or off from various points around the hall, and if some little grubby kid turned them off, it would take 15 to 20 minutes for the mercury lights to relight, leaving whoever was using the hall in the dark for that period.

The heaters were located (with the lights) in a “death star” above, in the centre, and would creak insistently when turned on. It was not possible to have exams and the heaters turned on at the same time.
Ugly, you bet..

Its failure, with others at other schools, prove that this particular building process was fraught with problems. I don’t know why the remaining schools still have them.

I was not sorry to see it go..


Martin doesn't go into detail but the failure of the Pittwater High School dome is one that could have been a major tragedy.
The promise of cheap, efficient school housing.

According to Wikipedia, in August 1986 the school was the site of an international architectural incident when its radical free standing "binishell" school hall collapsed, just minutes after the area had been occupied by students. A cleaner was seriously injured in the collapse, which led to the immediate closure of all similar structures across Australia.  A more detailed examination of the collapse cane be read at:  

 The Pittwater High School Binisihell dome

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From Alan in respect of the David Thorne item on creating a logo and pie charts:

“Bloody hilarious .......... please ... more.”

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From Kara in respect of Edgar A Guest's poem "It Couldn't Be Done":Hi Otto

I'm wondering if someone once said to E A Guest - I bet you couldn't write 11,000 poems.

In the words (almost) of Benny Hill

But he faced up to what could not be done...
And dammit, he bloody did it!

'Quantity not quality' comes to mind.

Happy Easter



Here's another of the 11,000 poems, Kara:

See It Through

By Edgar Albert Guest

When you’re up against a trouble,
    Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
    Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
    Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
    See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
    And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
    Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
    Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
    See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
    When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
    Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
    Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
    See it through!

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From Charlie Z in respect of Dorothy Parker, whose opinion on the poetry of Edgar A Guest I quoted:

Otto ... Re: Dorothy Parker.

When I am in New York, I usually wander in to the Algonquin Hotel, (right next to the Iroquois, by the way) to have a martini. The Algonquin was the watering hole for the Writers' group, which included Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Benchley AND Dorothy Parker. Your martini is served with complimentary mixed nuts and on a cocktail napkin with this poem written by Ms Parker.
One martini
Two at the most,
Three, I'm under the table,
Four, I'm under my host!


Thanks Charles. 
Dorothy Parker is known for many wry quotes and comments but I will confine myself to mentioning only one more, an anecdote I have posted previously. Sent a telegram by her editor, whilst she was on honeymoon, begging her for work that was overdue, he received her telegram in reply: “Too fucking busy, and vice versa.”

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From Marn:
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