Friday, January 30, 2015

Quote for the Day: Secondhand Lions

" Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honour, courage and virtue mean everything; that power and money ... money and power mean nothing. That good always triumphs over evil. And I want you to remember this.... that love....true love never dies! Remember that boy ... remember that. Doesn't matter if it is true or not, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in...... got that? "

- Robert Duvall as Hub McCann, Secondhand Lions

Funny Friday

Today's theme: Buddhists

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MGMT isn't actually an acronym, it's the word 'management' condensed to four letters.

It took me a while to discover that BDSM has surprisingly little to do with Buddhism.

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A Buddhist pays for his hot dog with a large note but receives no money back. He asks “Where’s my change?”, to which the vendor replies “Change must come from within.”

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There's a bloke in Hungary who goes round from door to door trying to convert people to Zen philosophy.

He's a Buddha pest.

(You may think this should be the Corn Corner item but trust me, the Corn Corner one is even cornier).

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After a 15 day trek through Tibet, I finally arrived at my destination.

I approached the orange robed Buddhist monk on the front gate to make sure.

"Excuse me brother", I said, "I have travelled many miles. Can you tell me, is this the Buddhist Temple of the Forgotten Vow of Silence?".

He replied, "It is weary traveller. Come in and......oh, for fucks sake!"

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Did you hear about the Buddhist monk who refused Novocain?

He wanted to transcend dental medication.

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Corn Corner:

A monk was driving in India when suddenly a dog crosses the road. The car hit and killed the dog. The monk looked around and, seeing a temple, went to knock on the door. A monk opened the door. The first monk said: "I'm terribly sorry, but my karma ran over your dogma."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quote for the Day: Shakespeare

"When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions."

- William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quote fopr the Day: Stephen Covey

“What comes first, the compass or the clock? Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass). Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what’s urgent, learn to focus on what is really important.”

- Stephen Covey

PM Abbott and Duke Philip

News report:

Tony Abbott is standing by his decision to make the Queen's husband an Australian knight and dismissed social media ridicule as lacking in credibility. The Prime Minister announced on Monday that the Queen had accepted his recommendation that the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston be awarded Australia's highest honour as Knights of the Order of Australia.

“. . . the monarchy has been an important part of Australia's life since 1788, and Prince Philip has been a great servant of Australia, he's been a great servant of all the countries of the Commonwealth. Here in this country, he's the patron of hundreds of organisations. He's the inspiration and wellspring of the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards which have provided leadership training for tens, if not, hundreds of thousands of Australians.'


As an indication of the character of the man who has just been named a Knight of the Order of Australia, I reprint the following post from Bytes from a number of years ago:

. . . a reminiscence by Gareth Evans, former Attorney General and Foreign Minister, of his meeting with Prince Philip, quoted in Barry Cohen’s book Whitlam to Winston:

Gareth Evans remembers well the moment he cast off any lingering doubts he had about the monarchy and became a confirmed republican. It was December 1985 and Her Majesty was at Yarralumla with her consort to sign into law the Australia Act, the legislation that allowed Australia to finally sever all those remaining linkages with the United Kingdom that we were constitutionally capable of severing, short of a referendum.

It was, he recalls, a great occasion.
The entire Ministry gathered in a semicicrcle as the Queen and Prince Philip came around, shook our hands one by one and engaged in a little conversation with each of us. 
After I had a polite but brief exchange with Her Majesty, she settled into a rather more prolonged discussion with Senator Susan Ryan, standing beside me, leaving me face to face with Prince Philip with a conversation gap to fill. My gambit wasn’t, on reflection, the most adventurous or stylish but I still think it was serviceable enough for the occasion. 
My opening line – ‘This is really a marvellous occasion and it’s wonderful that you are here for it’ – did not evince any discernible reaction at all. So I plunged on with something like this: ‘I feel particularly pleased personally that this has come to fruition. When I was Attorney-General I spent a fair bit of time rushing backwards and forwards to Whitehall, the Parliament and in fact the Palace as well, putting all this together, and it’s great that we’ve now made it.’ 
Prince Philip paused, looked at me and uttered just two words in reply: ‘Big deal.’

Bonus item:

"You don't get good decisions from government if all the decisions are simply made by one person. No one, however smart, however well educated, however experienced, is the suppository of all wisdom."

- Tony Abbot, when launching the campaign of Liberal candidate for Deakine, Michael Sukkar, 12.08.2013

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quote for the Day: Oscar Levant

"Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember."

- Oscar Levant (1906-1972),
American pianist, composer, author, comedian and actor who was also known for his neuroses and hypochondria.

Oscar Levant (right) and Robert Alda (father of Alan Alda, Hawkeye in M*A*S*H) in Rhapsody in Blue. Alda had the lead role in the film, portraying George Gershwin.

Some street art and graffiti

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quote for the Day: Australian Cricket Team Song

Under the Southern Cross I stand
A sprig of wattle in my hand,
A native of my native land,
Australia you fucking beauty

- Victory song of the Australian Cricket Team, originally a a patriotic song in the late 1890s and then a military drinking song in the 1940s.

Hear the Australian team sing (??) it in 2007 by clicking on:

Monday Miscellany: Some Odds, Ends and Personals

Today is Oz Day . . .


Some Byter contributions last week:

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From Byter Martin S in respect of my comment that the footprints of the astronauts on the moon would remain for millions of years, there being no wind and atmosphere:

It is a common fallacy to believe that the footprints in the moon will remain for millions of years. 
Whilst the atmosphere on the moon, is, in fact minimal, other processes ensure that there is a turnover of soil on the surface of the moon. Often called Gardening. 
These are not limited to:
· Micrometeorites , their impacts and ejecta.
· Thermal changes between night and day
· Electrostatic effects on individual dust grains (as seen by Apollo 8 and so on..) which cause a constant but light dusting across the moon. 
As to the exact turnover on the regolith of the moon, it remains unclear, but millions of years is not possible, but most likely more persistent than scribing your name on beach at low tide. 
Martin S

Thanks Martin.

Cartoon by Adams from the Daily Telegraph on the death of Neil Armstrong in 2012. The cartoon depicts Armstrong’s first footprint still existing 1,000 years into the future, but Earth is missing from the picture, a comment on the problems facing the Earth at present

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From Byter Brett B in respect of my comment in the same post that the Wright Brothers carried out the first heavier than air manned flight that returned safely to earth, in 1903:

There is some (minor) controversy over the Wright Brothers claim:

Bell may have stolen the invention of the telephone, Hillary may not have been the first man to climb Everest, Shakespeare may have been written by Bacon and now Gustave Whitehead may have flown before the Wright brothers.

The above article is lengthy so I will set out only the first paragraph:

Gustave Albin Whitehead, born Gustav Albin Weisskopf, (1 January 1874 – 10 October 1927) was an aviation pioneer who emigrated from Germany to the United States where he designed and built gliders, flying machines and engines between 1897 and 1915. Controversy surrounds published accounts and Whitehead's own claims that he flew a powered machine successfully several times in 1901 and 1902, predating the first flights by the Wright Brothers in 1903.

Thanks Brett.


In honour of Australian Day, some comments about Australian slang, Part 1:

First recorded in the 1980’s, the shortened form for ambulance officer is included here to illustrate a common feature of Australian English: the shortening of words and the addition of “o” at the end. Examples: arvo (afternoon), Salvo(Salvation army officer), gyno (gynaecologist) journo (journalist), and nicknames such as Johnno, Jacko, and Robbo.

The expression that something is apples, meaning all is well, derives from the rhyming slang expression “apple and spice”, meaning “nice”. Often times rhyming slang gets shortened to and loses connection with the original longer rhyme, eg China from China plate, meaning mate. 

The poor old bandicoot comes in for a lot of negative Aussie slang: as miserable as a bandicoot, as poor as a bandicoot, as bald as a bandicoot, as blind as a bandicoot and as hungry as a bandicoot. A lot of this relates to its appearance, particularly its long face:

In 1837 H. Watson in Lecture on South Australia wrote “The land here is generally good; there is a small proportion that is actually good for nothing; to use a colonial phrase, "a bandicoot (an animal between a rat and a rabbit) would starve upon it".

Banksia Men:
May Gibbs modelled the bad guys in her children’s books on the woody cones of the Banksia trees and shrubs:

The nice figures were Gumnut Babies . . .

 . . . and Wattle Babies

The Barcoo River in Western Queensland has given rise to numerous expressions to refer to hardships, privations, and living conditions of the outback. Banjo Patterson starts his poem “A Bush Christening” with the words 

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Diseases and ailments associated with dietary deficiency were often associated with the Barcoo region, hence a form of scurvy from lack of fresh fruit and vegetables was known as Barcoo Rot. Another condition which caused vomiting was known as Barcoo Vomit and Barcoo Spew, but ended up just being shortened to Barcoo.

According to Patsy Adam Smith: ‘I see you’ve learnt the Barcoo Salute’, said a Buln Buln Shire Councillor to the Duke of Edinburgh. ‘What’s that?’ said His Royal Highness, waving his hand again to brush the flies off his face. ‘That’s it’, said the man from the bush.

No longer referring to birth outside marriage, the term bastard can now be a term of endearment (“you old bastard”) or of disapproval (“he was a proper bastard”). Look at the context and the manner of delivery to see which applies. 

An example of the use of the word in the original sense from the days when a child born outside marriage was stigmatised and a cause for shame:
A young and busy Melbourne barrister had been taking his summer holidays at a remote Tasmanian holiday resort. Last year he was finally successful in seducing the resort owner’s beautiful 19 year old daughter. He was thus anticipating with excitement coming back to the resort.  When he got of his car he noticed, to his surprise, his lover with a small baby on her lap.  “Kim, why didn’t you write or phone me when you found out you were pregnant? I would have rearranged my court schedule and would have flown here as soon as possible. You know I care for you and we could have got married, and the baby would have my name.” Kim replied: “Well, when I told my parents that I was pregnant and that you were the father, we had a thorough discussion about what I should do. We all came to the conclusion that it would be far better to have a bastard in the family than a lawyer.”

Big note:
To big note oneself is to boast or brag. It derives from tthe 1950’s, pre-decimal currency (1966) when bank notes were larger. A big note man was one who had large amounts of money in large denominations and hence in larger physical size as well. Flashing large sums of money about and showing off came to be known as big noting.

Billy can:
The name comes from the large cans used for transporting bouilli orbully beef on Australia-bound ships or during exploration of the outback. After use tehse cans were modified for boiling water over a fire; however there is a suggestion that the word may be associated with the Aboriginal billa, meaning water as in billabong. 

The billy has come to symbolise the spirit of exploration of the outback. To boil the billy most often means to make tea. "Billy Tea" is the name of a popular brand of tea long sold in Australian grocers and supermarkets. Billies feature in many of Henry Lawson's stories and poems. Banjo Paterson's refers to the billy in the first verse and chorus of Waltzing Matilda: "And he sang as he looked at the old billy boiling", which was later changed by the Billy Tea Company to "And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled..."