Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quote for the Day

It doesn't need many


- Shawnee Kellie

One word can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream;
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald Spring.

One smile can bring a friendship,
One handclasp can lift a soul;
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One cheer can obtain a goal.

One vote can change a Nation,
One sunbeam can lift a room;
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One look can change two lives;
One kiss can make love bloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer;
One hope can raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true;
One life can make a difference,
One life is me and you...."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Quote for the Day



I am now home from hospital.

Thanks to those who sent “Get Well Soon” messages, also to those who told me to get up and start posting Bytes again.

By way of letting you know what occurred, below are reports from hospital that I sent by mobile phone text messages to family and a few others . . .

Monday, 20 February 2017

Report on what happened:
  • Saturday night started getting chills. Had to go to the bathroom and collapsed, couldn’t get up despite trying over and over. Was disoriented and passing out. Kate found me on my knees on Sunday morning in front of the armchair with my face buried in the cushion, passed out.
  • She and Elliot called the ambulance and they found blood pressure 70/30 and temp 40.3, pulse low 40’s. I don’t recall any of that.
  • I woke up in hospital and I was later told that I was lucky I was not taken there any later.
  • They have worked out that I have 2 conditions, an infection in my leg which went into septicaemia and a collapsed lung from the shallow breathing when lying face down on the cushion passed out.
  • Originally they thought the only problem was my lungs and that I had pneumonia, my leg not having any breaks in the skin or any obvious infection symptoms.
  • I am being pumped full of antibiotics and other stuff including potassium and magnesium but feeling okay, albeit it tired.
  • I didn’t even know I had an infection.
  • They will probably keep me here (RPA) to the end of the week. The staff are great.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Progress report:
  • I am in a ward of 4 people:
o An elderly guy who sleeps all day and night but occasionally stands up and doesn’t move, like a statue, or who goes wandering and has to be led back to bed.

o A guy who doesn’t speak English and moans for hours, usually at night, on each breath: uhhhh, uhhhhh, uhhhhhh.

o A chap who is Welsh and can barely ne understood but who keeps ranting, arguing, going crazy (tries to rip out his lines, tries to leave, is nasty to the nurses. They had to call Security on him last night and sit a nurse at the end of his bed for the night.
  • When I was on the phone to Kate yesterday and Ranter was ranting and Moaner was moaning, she could hear it all quite clearly. I said that I was thinking of getting my own shtick, to make chicken sounds. . . brrrrk, brk brk brrrrk.
  • Because a lot of this happens at night, I catch up on sleep in the day when things are quieter for some reason (why is that?) but last night the boys were quiet and I slept.
  • I am being pumped full of antibiotics intravenously. They now see the problem as leg infection rather than pneumonia.
  • They removed my catheter during the night. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I’m free at last.”
  • Except that I’m not free yet, I don’t have to carry the catheter bag going to the toilet or to do my toiletries such as shaving but I now have to take my friend (my IV pole) with me.
Happy Trails campers.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Ranter’s friend is arguing with the doctor that Ranter wants to go home and he is taking him home, that Ranter is being treated awfully by the doctors and nurses. BS! The doctor is telling him that if Ranter leaves, he will die, so that if he persists they will call Security, not on Ranter but on the friend.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Situation defused by a very patient and kind female doctor. I was so tempted to call out “Wake up to yourself you mugs, show some appreciation for the people who are looking after you” but I figured they would tell me to butt out. I wouldn’t make a good social worker or magistrate. 😡😡😡😡😡

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

(Because I don’t know where my phone charger lead is I can’t download any pics, so will describe same when relevant).

Meet my friend . . .

(a pic of my IV pole with stuff hanging off it)

I have named my friend Charlene, the name that Gomer gives his rifle in Full Metal Jacket.

This is my drip pole. There are many like it but this one is mine. It is my life. Without me it is useless. Without my drip pole I am useless.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017
  • Definite now that the problem is my leg, not lung(s). The culture grown from the bacteria in my blood is consistent with the sepsis of my leg.
  • Sepsis: Sepsis is the result of a massive immune response to bacterial infection that gets into the blood. It often leads to organ failure or injury. Sepsis is a medical emergency that becomes fatal or life-changing for many of the individuals who develop this "blood poisoning." - Medical News Today
  • The Respiratory Unit have passed me over to the Infectious Diseases Unit. (Elliot says that he won’t visit any more).
  • I am on stronger, different antibiotics by iv drip.
  • I have been moved to a “quieter room”.
  • Tomorrow morning they are going to put a cannula on the inside of my upper arm with a line in the vein going to near my heart. It’s called a Pick Line (I have since learned it is a PICC Line) and they will use that to put in antibiotics, take blood etc.
  • Also, when I am discharged, whenever that will be, I will be subject to Hospital in the Home, where that PICC Line will will be used to connect to a 24 hour antibiotic pack worn around the waist in a bum bag. Then once a day a nurse comes to the house to change the pack or I go to RPA to get it done, at least a week or more from discharge.
  • They said to stay home but I argued that if I am sitting at home I might as well sit in the office. That raises issues of elevating my offending leg.
That’s it for now.

Thursday 23 February 2017

  • As I mentioned yesterday, I am in a different room, more of that shortly.
  • Before I left where I was, Ranter was x-rayed. Not by his going to the x-ray department but by having the x-ray machine come to him. A big machine that looked like Optimus Prime and unfolded the same way was positioned in front of him with the cross hairs on his chest and an x-ray plate behind his back. 
  • Apparently there is no radiation risk but Thomas and I were asked to wait outside as a precaution.
  • Amazing technology.
  • By way of comparison, here is a pic of the chair next to my bed, worthy of entry to the website “There, I fixed it . . .”   (Photograph shows the arm rests secured by numerous layers of duct tape, of different colours).
  • A comparison between the two wards:

The one I just left:
Nurses had to keep dealing firmly and loudly with Ranter.
Lights were kept on at night by the patients.
TV sets kept on.
Disturbed sleep, if any.

The one I am now in:
So quiet I could be in a convent of a silent order.
Patients don’t talk I introduced myself to the others and shook hands but they looked at me like a had 2 heads).
Curtains around beds are all drawn at night.
Nurses use torches at night.
Nurses whisper at night when they have to change drips, take obs etc
  • Strange but I kinda miss Bedlam in a way. Maybe Billy Joel is right, that it’s more fun to laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

Thursday 23 February 2017


Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Smith’s Law” “Murphy was an optimist.”

  • I was prepped to go down to the Cath Lab to have the PICC Line put in, which is treated as a surgical procedure. I had to wear a hospital gown and was taken down in my bed by a porter.
  • At the Cath Lab an Irish lady introduced herself as Kathleen (what else?) and said she needed to check that I had good veins for a PICC. She ran an ultrasound device along my upper inner arm and, in a thick Irish accent, said “Oh, what a beautiful vein, Otto. That big black hole on the screen is your vein, isn’t it beautiful?”
  • I was too nonplussed to reply but she wasn’t expecting an answer and just kept talking. She put antispectic on my arm , measured the length of the line needed, then checked the medical records that had come down with me. She said “It says her that you’re on epixiban” (?). This is a blood thinner that I am required to take because of past blood clotting. I said that I was and she asked when I had last had it. I said last night and this morning. She said that they are supposed to suspend it before a procedure. I told her that it was even worse than that, they had doubled the daily does in that they considered my daily dose too low.
  • Bottom (PICC) line: no procedure today, come back tomorrow and suspend the epixiban. Go and thin no more.
  • Parting comments from Kathleen: “I was so looking forward to putting that PICC in, you’ve got the best veins we’ve seen all day and we have to send you away.”
  • On the positive side, I may go home tomorrow.
  • On the negative side, they want me to stay home for a week.
  • On the further negative side, my cannula just worked its way out and they have to insert another.

Friday 24 February 2017
  • The lady from the Sleep Clinic, let’s call her Brunhilde, made me sleep with a machine that pumps oxygen into your body. It has a mask over your nose and mouth and is quite challenging to get used to. I had bought the machine years ago, tried it a couple of times and stopped using it. My records of that are at RPA and Brunhilde was not happy. I did one hour the previous night so she changed the setting slightly and told me she wanted 3 continuous hours this time. She is a very forceful person. I went to sleep at 10.15pm and awoke at 1.45 am. I mentally calculated that I had given Brunhilde her 3 hours so took off the mask and sat up. The night nurse went past, saw me sitting up and whispered in frightened tones “Have you slept for 3 hours?” Brunhilde had co-oped the night nurses as well!
  • The PICC line has been installed. During installation I was given a local anaesthetic and the PICC line is manoeuvred into position with an ultrasound. I later had an x-ray to check it is all correct.
  • I mentioned to Kathleen that my wife is a former nurse and that she had once told me that some of the chaps who are most queasy at receiving needles are big, burly footballers. Kathleen replied, in her brogue, “It’s true. We’ve had a lot of bikies here, with tattoos and everything, and a lot of them are needle shy. I found it amazing at the beginning, I really did.”
  • I am amazed at the amount of waste in hospitals. The procedure with me involved opening a large surgical pack that had everything needed: gowns, medical items, electronics, equipment etc. As each item was used and no longer needed, it was cast aside. At the end, it was all sorted, bundled up and binned. I was told that wastage was the price for sterility and that it was cheaper.
  • I am now home.
  • Thanks, RPA, you guys are all great.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sorry Guys! There will be no posts for the next few days as Otto is currently unwell. Bytes will return soon. - Elliot

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Quote for the Day

Sydney Suburbs: Bella Vista, Bellevue Hill, Belmore


Bella Vista:

33 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of The Hills Shire.

Name origin:
lizabeth Macarthur, wife of famed colonial settler John Macarthur (who was in England much of the time), farmed sheep on her 'Seven Hills Farm'. The Pearce family later acquired part of this property and built the homestead that they named ‘Bella Vista' after the beautiful, panoramic views form the hills.

Some comments:
  • The original land grant was to Joseph Foveaux in 1799. In 1801 he sold it to John and Elizabeth Macarthur.
  • With a string of past owners and farm uses, Bella Vista farm has contributed significantly to the development of Australian agriculture, including the first Merino sheep farm in Australia and the foundation of the Australian citrus fruit industry.
  • Today the size of the farm has been reduced but it remains an intact farm including homestead and out-buildings dating from the original 1799 Joseph Foveaux grant. 
  • The farm is now owned by The Hills Council.
  • Enjoy a social picnic and make use of the public BBQ facilities in the outer grounds of the farm or simply wander the walk ways and view the avenue of Bunya Pines that form the original driveway to the homestead.
  • Until the mid-1990s, the area was primarily used for small-scale agriculture. The suburb now sports several shopping complexes and a major hotel. It is rapidly becoming the main business centre within the Hills District. The biggest commercial area is the Norwest Business Park which incorporates retail, commercial, industrial and hotel developments. The industrial areas in West Bella Vista are still heavily under development,.

Elizabeth Macarthur

Bella Vista Farm

Bella Vista Farm

Bella Vista Farm

Lake in the middle of Norwest Business Park

Bellevue Hill:

5 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Municipality of Woollahra.

Name origin:
In the early 19th century, Irish-Australian immigrants referred to the area as Vinegar Hill, after the Battle of Vinegar Hill, an engagement during the 1798 uprising of the United Irishmen in south-east Ireland. In that engagement over 13,000 British soldiers attacked Irish rebels, the last attempt by the rebels to hold and defend ground against the British military (The convict rebellion of 1804 in Castle Hill came to be known as the Second battle of Vinegar Hill, after the first in Ireland in 1798). Governor Lachlan Macquarie took great exception to area being described as Vinegar Hill and named the suburb Bellevue Hill, the belle vue meaning beautiful view.

Some comments:
  • Bellevue Hill is known as one of Australia's wealthiest suburbs. 
  • Bellevue Hill has several historic houses that are on the Register of the National Estate, including Caerleon, Rona, Fairfax House and Cranbrook House, used as Government House and home to three governors and their families from 1901 to 1917.

Defeat at Vinegar Hill - illustrated by George Cruikshank (1845)



Fairfax House



14 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Canterbury-Bankstown Council.

Name origin:
Known as Darkwater in its early days, Belmore was named after the fourth Earl of Belmore, Governor of New South Wales from 1868-1872. 


Fourth Earl of Belmore (1835-1913)

Burwood Road, Belmore

St George Hotel, Belmore, [group portrait], ca 1919.
A gathering of service personnel and civilians outside the St George Hotel, 618 Canterbury Road (corner of Kingsgrove Road) Belmore. The photograph was probably taken on ANZAC Day.

Belmore fruit and vegetable markets, 1890’s 

Schoolchildren line up for free issue of soup and a slice of bread in the Depression, Belmore North Public School, Sydney, 2 August 1934

St George Hotel, 1895.
It is believed this photograph was taken on 1 February, 1895, the day the Sydenham to Belmore section of the Bankstown Railway Line was opened. The banner across the upstairs balcony reads: "Welcome to Belmore" and features a picture of a steam train.

Photograph of the west wing of "The Towers". The Norfolk Island Pine (behind the cow) grew into a very large tree and was a prominent feature in photographs of "The Towers" for over 100 years.
Photo taken about 1890's.

The Towers today, a heritage-listed house in Forsyth Street

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Quote for the Day

Moonshine, Bootleggers and NASCAR



The word "moonshine" is believed to be derived from the term "moonrakers" used for early English smugglers who did their work at night, that is, by the light of the moon. This in turn gave rise to “moonshine” as the term for illegally distilled whiskey, the Appalachian distillers doing their production and distribution at night.

Californian police agents dump illegal alcohol in 1925,


Until the late 1800’s, the term “bootleg” meant the upper part of a tall boot. Those bootlegs provided convenient places to secrete items such as guns and knives. They also served to hide flasks of liquor. 

A woman secreting a whiskey flask in her bootleg.
The swastika on the floor was considered a good luck symbol prior to the adoption of it by the Nazis.

From there it came to be applied to anything surreptitiously transported, sold or possessed. The term spread widely during Prohibition (1920-1933) in the United States, when production and possession of alcoholic beverages was outlawed by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution. Those illegally distributing the unlawfully produced whiskey were known as “bootleggers”. Today the term refers generally to anything illegally obtained or sold: bootleg DVD’s, recordings, software, cosmetics etc. Interestingly it is usually used to describe something for which a lawful equivalent exists, hence there are bootleg DVD’s but there is no bootleg cocaine.

A truck ingeniously camouflaged by bootleggers during Prohibition, being inspected by authorities in Los Angeles, California.

Some prohibition pics . . .

Destruction of bootleg liquor


NASCAR and Bootleggers:

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) evolved out of bootlegging. Drivers ran bootleg whiskey, made primarily in the Appalachian region of the United States, to distribution outlets. They typically used small, fast vehicles to better evade the police and many modified their cars for speed and handling, as well as increased cargo capacity. For many the fast paced drive down twisty mountain roads became a thrill in itself. Prohibition was repealed in 1933 but many members of the public continued their taste for moonshine, keeping the drivers in business as they maintained their fast driving to avoid “revenuers”. As cars continued to improve, races and competitions amongst drivers started taking place away from the illicit alcohol delivery, especially in the southern states. That evolved into NASCAR. These days there is an annual reunion featuring retired moonshiners and the former federal agents who once chased them.



Beginnings of NASCAR:


Friday, February 17, 2017

Quote for the Day

Funny Friday Revisited

I am without internet at my home at the moment for an indeterminate period. As with most things in life, you take it for granted when it's there and don't appreciate it until it's gone.

As a result of not having internet I have not been able to prepare a fresh Funny Friday so here is a past Funny Friday posted from my office.

Hopefully you will enjoy it. Humour often deserves to be read and heard more than once.

Repost . . . 

A witch doctor, and related, theme this Funny Friday. It includes an item previously posted but as with some others in recent months, too good not to include. Enjoy Friday and the funnies . . . 

After being married for a few years, a man finds that he is no longer able to perform. He goes to his doctor who suggests a few things for him to try, but nothing works. Finally, the doctor tells him it's all in his mind and refers him to a psychiatrist. 

After a few visits to the psychiatrist, the shrink confesses, "I'm at a total loss as to how you can possibly be cured." 

In desperation, he goes to a witch doctor. 

The witch doctor tells him, "Certainly, I can cure this," and throws some powder on a flame. Suddenly there is a flash of billowing blue smoke. "This is very powerful healing," says the witch doctor, "but I must warn you, you will only be able to use it once a year. All you must do is say '1-2-3' and it shall rise for as long as you wish.

"What happens when it's over?" he asks the witch doctor. 

"Then, your partner must say '1-2-3-4' and it will go down. Do be warned though, it will not work again for another year.

That night the man is ready to surprise his wife with his good news. As he's laying next to her in bed, he says "1-2-3" and immediately gets an erection. 

Turning over towards him, his wife asks, "What did you say '1-2-3 for?" 

And THAT my friends, is why we should NEVER end a sentence with a preposition. 

A witch doctor from a tribe in deepest, darkest Africa is sent by his chief to visit Britain in order to sample a different culture. 

On his return the chief asks him how it was and what new things he did. 

The witch doctor tells him about this building he went into one night. He says, "There were loads of guys with big bellies drinking something called beer and throwing miniature spears at a circular board with a small circle in the middle and numbers all round the outside. The men asked me if I wanted a shot and I told them yes." 

"And how did you get on?" asked the chief. 

"Brilliant," replied the witch doctor. "Every time I threw a spear, I got it to land dead centre of the board and everybody in the place started cheering me and slapping me on the back." 

"Really", says the chief, "and what was this game called?" 

"Jammy black bastard," says the witch doctor. 

I was shocked when my adopted daughter told me she was going to marry a witch doctor. 

"Why do you want to do that?" I asked. 

"Pwobabwy for financial secuwity," she replied. 

A man found himself lost and wandering in a forest. After a few hours trying to find his way, he came upon a small house. He knocked on the door and was greeted by an old Chinese man with a long, grey beard. 

"I'm lost," said the man, "can you put me up for the night?" 

"Certainly," the Chinese old man said, "but on one condition. If you so much as lay a finger on my daughter, I will inflict upon you the three worst Chinese tortures known to man". 

"Ok," said the man, thinking that the daughter must be pretty old as well, and entered the house. Before dinner, the daughter came down the stairs. She was young, beautiful, and had a nice shape. She was obviously attracted to the man since she couldn't keep her eyes off him during the meal. Remembering the old man's warning, he ignored her and went up to bed alone. 

During the night, he could no longer bear it and sneaked into her room for a night of passion. He was careful to keep everything quiet so the old man wouldn't hear. Near dawn, he crept back to his room exhausted, but happy. 

He woke to feel a pressure on his chest. Opening his eyes, he saw a large rock on his chest with a note on it that read "Chinese Torture 1: Large rock on chest". 

"Well that's pretty crappy," he thought, "If that's the best the old man can do then I don't have much to worry about". He picked the rock up, walked over to the window and threw the rock out. 

As he did, so he noticed another note on it that read "Chinese Torture 2: Rock tied to left testicle". In panic, he glanced down and saw the rope that was already getting close to the end. Figuring that a few broken bones were better than castration, he jumped out of the window after the rock. 

As he plummeted downward, he saw a large sign on the ground that read "Chinese Torture 3: Right testicle tied to bedpost". 

One day there was an Indian chief who was constipated. he sent one of his warriors to the witch doctor to get some medicine. The warrior says "Big Chief, no shit". The doctor gave him a pill and told him that the chief should be fine tomorrow. 

The warrior went back to the chief and gave him the pill. the next morning the warrior was sent back to the witch doctor and says "Big chief, no shit". The doctor gives him five pills and tells him to give them to the chief. 

The next day the warrior appears at the witch doctor's house yet again saying "Big chief, no shit". The witch doctor gets annoyed and so gives the warrior the whole bottle of pills to give to the chief. 

The next day the warrior goes back to the witch doctor: 

"Big shit, no chief". 

In the greatest days of the British Empire, a new commanding officer was sent to a jungle outpost to relieve the retiring colonel. 

After welcoming his replacement and showing the courtesies (gin and tonic, cucumber sandwiches) that protocol decrees, the retiring colonel said "You must meet Captain Smithers, my right-hand man. God, he's really the strength of this office. His talent is simply boundless." 

Smithers was summoned and introduced to the new CO, who was surprised to meet a toothless, hairless, scabbed and pockmarked specimen of humanity, a particularly unattractive man less than three foot tall. 

"Smithers, old man, tell your new CO about yourself." 

"Well, sir, I graduated with honours from Sandhurst, joined the regiment and won the Military Cross and Bar after three expeditions behind enemy lines. I've represented Great Britain in equestrian events and won a Silver Medal in the middleweight division of the Olympics. 

I have researched the history of ...." 

Here the colonel interrupted, "Yes, yes, never mind that Smithers, the CO can find all that in your file. 

Tell him about the day you told the witch doctor to get fucked." 

Corn Corner: 

An Indian chief was feeling very sick, so he summoned the medicine man. After a brief examination, the medicine man took out a long, thin strip of elk hide and gave it to the chief, instructing him to bite off, chew and swallow one inch of the leather every day. 

After a month, the medicine man returned to see how the chief was feeling. 

The chief shrugged and said, "The thong is ended but the malady lingers on."