Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Newspaper Nonsense

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.<ericshackle*bigpond.com>


In the anagram world, it's well known that MONKEYS WRITE the NEW YORK TIMES.
That's not surprising, since the infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite number of times will almost surely type the complete works of William Shakespeare.

Nor is it surprising that Rupert Murdoch recently closed down his infamous THE NEWS OF THE WORLD, since it was a HOT, LEWD SHEET (FROWN) with HOT, TENDER FLESH. WOW!

THE SCOTSMAN (Edinburgh) with typical frugality, HASN'T COST ME


The letters forming THE IRISH TIMES say EITHER HIT, MISS.


A London newspaper, THE DAILY EXPRESS, can claim I HELP SEXY STAR!

Another, THE GUARDIAN, can be shuffled to say HUGE, RADIANT. Mix the letters again, and they produce the less complimentary HIT AND ARGUE, or (worse still) DRAINAGE HUT.



The letters forming the words THE INDEPENDENT can say it's THE INTENDED PEN or THE INDENTED PEN. Or PENNED, THEN EDIT.




Anagrams for some US newspapers:

AKRON BEACON-JOURNAL says OK ON A JOCULAR BANNER (it must sometimes display amusing banner headlines). Another anagram indicates AN OK, AN ABLE, CONJUROR.




BUSINESS FIRST can be shuffled to say IS BEST FUN, SIRS.




CHICAGO SUN-TIMES can be shuffled to show that this newspaper is AMUSING, CHOICEST! Mix them again, and you find that it IS CATCHING MOUSE.

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE wins a prize for being a BIG ANCHOR CUTIE with A BIG, NICER TOUCH.




THE (Columbus, Ohio) DAILY REPORTER can be shuffled to form two apparently related anagrams, revealing that a HYPER ALERT EDITOR REPORTED HEARTILY.



DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS can be re-arranged to say SUNNY, DOWN-MARKET (OVER-NICE?). Mix them again, and they tell you that an UNKNOWN SECRETARY MOVED IN.




EL PASO TIMES also spells A POET SMILES. Mix the letters again, and they say SEEMS A PILOT who AIMS TO SLEEP.

FORT LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL can be mixed to show that this newspaper is NEAT (UNDERLINED) OR FAULTLESS. Shuffled again, they say it has a FAULTLESS RETURN ON DEADLINE.



INDIANAPOLIS NEWS can be shuffled to say it's IDEAL, WINS ON A SPIN. Mix them again, and they suggest NOW SLIP IN AN ASIDE. And if you do that, you're rewarded by a WIN AND A LIP'S NOISE (that's a kiss!)

INDIANAPOLIS STAR can be shuffled to say it's A LAD'S INSPIRATION or INSPIRATIONAL, SAD. Mix them again, and they tell us that A SNAIL IS NOT RAPID. AND IT IS ON A SPIRAL!

The INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY yields two highly complimentary anagrams: IS SUNNY, ASSORTED, VISIBLE and its BODY IS AS SUNNIEST SILVER.

KANSAS CITY STAR says SACK ANY ARTISTS! Mix those letters again, and you find that that ISN'T A SCARY TASK and that objections can be overcome by A SCANT, ARTY KISS.


THE (MEMPHIS) COMMERCIAL APPEAL can also say CALL, COME, I AM THE PAPER! Mix them again, and they proclaim AM THE COMPILER PALACE.


MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL can also say JOLLIER, KEEN, MUTUAL, SANE WIN. Mix them again, and they tell you this newspaper is JEWEL-LIKE, LUMINOUS, NEAT RAN.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST.PAUL PIONEER PRESS can be shuffled to read SUNNIEST, PROPER, APPEASES MILLION. Mix them again, and you get a fine piece of alliteration: PRIME PURPLE POSITIONAL SANENESS.



NEW JERSEY TIMES can ask WIN? YES! (MERE JEST). Mix them again, and you find the reply: YES, I'M NEWER JEST.

NEWSDAY, LONG ISLAND can be shuffled to say DANDY AS WELL – SIGN ON! Mix them again, and they form AND NOW SADLY SINGLE or SNOW DELAYS LANDING.

THE NEW YORK TIMES (quoted earlier) can be shown to contain KEEN WORTHY ITEMS or else THE MONKEYS WRITE it.

THE OREGONIAN can be shuffled to read ONE GIANT HERO. Mix the letters again, and you find the message, NO! IGNORE HEAT! or GENERATION OH!


PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS can be shuffled to say HAPPY HEADLINES WILL AID. Mix the letters again, and they boast WELL, I AN IDEAL HAPPY DISH!


(ROCHESTER) DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE can also say DECENT, CORDIAL – MARCH ON! (or ON MARCH). Mix them again, and you find the message CHARM CARTOON DECLINED, and the reply CARTOON DRENCHED – CLAIM!

THE SACRAMENTO BEE can be shuffled to say THE NAME? BEST OR ACE! Mix the letters again, and you find SERENE, COMBAT HEAT.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH can be re-arranged to show a puzzling SLID PAST THIS OCTOPUS. Mix them again, and you find STATISTICS SHOULD POP or AS POLITICS THUDS – STOP!





The letters spelling SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS can also say WARMNESS CURES, ENJOY! or a somewhat cryptic CREW ENJOYS SURNAMES.



THE TAMPA TRIBUNE can be shuffled to say THE BRAIN TEAM PUT (or BRAIN PUT THE TEAM). Mix them again, and they say REMAIN – BET THAT UP! or disclose a mysterious I'M A BETTER HAT PUN.

Top-selling national newspaper USA TODAY shouts OY! – US DATA, while USA TODAY NEWSPAPER can be re-arranged in A SANE, SUPPORTED WAY.

The 21 letters forming VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL (Florida) can be shuffled to read HE'S JOCULAR, BRAVE PERSON. Mix them again, and you get JOCULAR, SHARP – EVEN SOBER! And for a third anagram, you find the slogan OUR SHARP RELEVANCE: JOBS!

VIRGINIAN PILOT can be shuffled to say NIP IN – GO TRIVIAL! Mix the letters again, and you find OIL VIA PRINTING is PILING ON TRIVIA, with a LOVING PAIR IN IT, and a VIP IN TAILORING.

WALL ST. JOURNAL delivers a simple message: JOLT ALL, WARN US (is that us or U.S.?)


THE WASHINGTON TIMES can be shuffled to read HONEST MIGHT, SANE WIT. Mix the letters twice more, and they say HAT ON – MIGHTIEST NEWS! followed by WHITE-HOT ASSIGNMENT!

FOOTNOTE. These and many other computer-generated anagrams can be obtained easily (and free of charge) from either of two Internet servers, run by computer wizards William Tunstall-Pedoe, of Cambridge, England (http://www.AnagramGenius.com) and Anu Garg, of Seattle, Washington: http://wordsmith.org/anagram/index.ht

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Bell to chime 2011 times

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.

At precisely 10.30pm on Christmas Eve, six bell ringers will begin tolling the bell of Dewsbury Minster in Yorkshire, 2011 times, to finish on the stroke of midnight. It's a 600-year-old custom, called the Devil's Knell.

The bells remind the townspeople of the number of years that have elapsed since the birth of Christ. It's supposed to mark the Devil's departure from the Earth.

In the 15th century a local knight, Sir Thomas de Soothill, in a fit of rage, murdered a servant boy by throwing him into a mill pond. To expiate his crime he gave the tenor bell, Black Tom, requiring it to be tolled at his own funeral. It is now rung on Christmas Eve to signify that the First Eucharist of Christmas proclaims the defeat of evil.

"We ring about 26 blows per minute" says bellringer Derek C. Johnstone.  "Each person takes his turn to ring 100 blows, then signs them off on a sheet.

"We have a target time chart to ensure we stay on track to finish at midnight.We ring from the comfort of the ringing chamber. The wind through the louvres  makes ringing an alpine sport."

The other ringers: Ronalda and Richard Johnstone, Gill and Denny Flynn, and Hazel Crabb.

The British Post Office issued a special stamp in 1986, commemorating this historic event.

The Anglo Dutch brewery in Dewsbury produces Devil's Knell beer, described as "A reddish ‘winter beer'".

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Slap My Ass and Call Me Sally

From ERIC SHACKLE in Sydney, Australia<ericshackle*bigpond.com>

"Well, slap my ass and call me Sally!"   I laughed out loud when my internet friend Rocky Rodenbach, of Tampa, Florida, used it in an email. When I asked him about it, he said the phrase was commonplace in his neck of the woods, to express surprise.

An American blogger wrote: "It's a reference to newborns. The doctor/midwife/nurse/whoever's doing the delivery will give the baby a smack to encourage the lungs to start, and it's also around this time that the baby is named, hence the 'call me...' part. So the person using the expression would be saying that he or she was apparently naïve about something, as a newborn would be".

Dozens of similar expressions can be found on the internet. I particularly like 

"Paint me purple and call me stupid."

Here are some of the others:

Well, pour me out and call me buttermilk.
Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit.
Well, love me tender and call me Elvis
Well, shut my mouth and call me luggage
Well, paint my toenails and call me Mabel
Well, buy me slippers and call me Dorothy
Well, strip my gears and call me shiftless
Well, wet my feet and call me Ducky
Well, slap my forehead and call me stupid
Well, feed me nails and call me Rusty
Well, rub my belly and call me Buddha

British and Australian readers may have thought that the ass being slapped was a donkey, as they spell the slang word for butt (buttocks) as arse.

If the expression did in fact refer to a donkey, then it may well have been adapted from this English nursery rhyme or children's song:

Dancing Dolly had no sense,
She bought a fiddle for eighteen pence--
And the only tune that she could play
Was "Sally get out of the donkey's way."

Brits of a certain age will remember with pleasure, pop singer Gracie Fields belting out the song "Sally in Our Alley":

Sally, Sally,
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley

I was surprised to learn that Sally in Our Alley was born long before the 20th century. English composer and playwright Henry Carey (c. 1693-­1743) wrote the original tune and words, and the song was first published in 1726.

About that time, Sally Lunn, a young French baker, sought refuge in England. "She began to bake a rich round and generous bread now known as the Sally Lunn bun," said the Sally Lunn's Co. in the English town of Bath.

Maybe that too was the origin of this nursery rhyme::
Sally go round the moon,
Sally go round the sun.
Sally go round the chimneypots
On a Saturday afternoon.

Slap my ass and call me Sally! reminded me of a similar phrase I heard used by Australian and US troops serving in New Guinea during World War II: "Cut off my legs and call me Shorty!"  That was the name of a song Louis Armstrong recorded in 1940 which was often broadcast by the US Armed Forces radio stations.

Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally Bangin'  hot sauces are manufactured by Tijuana Hot Foods Inc., based not in Tijuana, Mexico, but in Florida, US.

"Chet was a bad dude, the kinda guy that would steal the wooden leg from a handicapped person," said the Insane Chicken website, in Pembroke, Massachusetts, "so it was no surprise when someone slipped some of this homemade hot sauce into Chet's moonshine. After one sip, big Chet fell to his knees and with a tear in his eye shouted, 'Well Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally!'"

Slap  My Ass Sauce Tasting
Gracie Fields Sings Sally in Our Alley:


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Amazing Grace Now Amazing Race

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.

Danny Bloom, an American journalist living in Taiwan, has rewritten the lyrics of one of the world's favorite hymns, "Amazing Grace." He has changed the title to "The Human Race"
Here are his words:

Amazing race, how cool you are
A long-lived family tree.
We are one on Earth unbound
Once born, we breathe, we see.

O human race there's naught to fear.
life's one sweet adventure true
How precious is each day we live
You and you and you!

Though many dangers, toils and snares
Lurk behind the doors of fear
We are one amazing race
and friends are always near.

Day by day and year by year
We need to stand up tall
And fight injustice wherever it lies.
United, one and all

But when our flesh and hearts do fail,
And mortal life does end,
The human race goes on and on
and memories last, my friend.

Well, we've been here ten million years
And we'll last till the end of time.
So wipe away those human tears
Be strong, be good, be kind.

Amazing race, how cool you are
A long-lived family tree.
We are one on Earth unbound
Once born, we breathe, we see. 

Amazing Grace, "almost certainly the most spiritually moving melody ever created," was written in the 1770s by John Newton, an Englishman who had been in turn a slave and a slave-trader. 

After a checkered and violent career as a boy and young man, Newton "saw the light," and ended his days as a respected clergyman in the English village of Olney, in Buckinghamshire.

"Amazing Grace might very well be the most easily recognizable hymn ever written," says the Newton Library website. "It's been recorded by popular singers, performed on TV, used in commercials and it was even played in its entirety during the broadcast of the women's gymnastic competition of the 1996 Olympics. 

"Many people who never stepped foot in a church could recite the first few lines and maybe even the whole first verse."

In her book, "Amazing Grace, The Story of the Hymn", Linda Granfield wrote "Newton was a man of paradoxes: for many years he earned his living from the slave trade, and yet he was for a short while a slave himself, planting lime trees in Sierra Leone. 

"A horrific storm at sea in 1748 led Newton to his new life as a minister and anti-slavery activist. He recollected both his deliverance from the storm, and his life without God, in his most famous creation."

In 1830 the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, despite bitter opposition from many Americans including Tennessee Congressman Davy Crockett who declared "I would sooner be honestly damned than hypocritically immortalized."

Cherokee men, women, and children were herded into makeshift forts with minimal facilities and food, then forced to travel 1000 miles west, often on foot. A detailed report of what is termed "one of the saddest episodes of our brief history," is shown at a North Georgia website. 

A fine painting of the Trail and many more details are posted at a Missouri website which says: "One can only imagine the suffering that was taking place... Disrespectfully uprooted, homeless, they were embarking on a long journey in worn-out moccasins in the unforgiving dead of winter. 

"Enduring river crossings, ice floes and relentless winds, they had only a blanket for warmth - if they were lucky. You imagine huddling around a fire, comforting your mother while she gets weaker and weaker ... wondering, as she, when the suffering would end, and whether she would even live to see it."

Frankie Sue Gilliam, editor of Twin Territories, "Oklahoma's Only Historical Newspaper," took pride in being an "Okie from Muskogee" and a Cherokee. She traced her ancestry back to Little Terrapin, one of 300 Cherokees who, having mostly supported England in the Revolutionary War, moved westward from Arkansas in 1817.

"Amazing Grace is a very important song to the Cherokees, and is often referred to as our national anthem," she told me 10 years ago.

You can listen to Danny Bloom's new version of the hymn, with vocals and guitar by Staffan Fenander:

Staffan was busking in the suburbs of Rome, Italy, in 1971, when he bumped into underground hat-passer extraordinaire Danny Bloom, who was also spending the summer fooling around in Rome, living in Trastevere and hanging out at the American Library near the Spanish Steps.
Now, 40 years later, the two friends have collaborated on their new global song, with Steffan doing the vocals and guitar work in a soulful, dreamy, melodious way, and Danny chiming in with the new lyrics for a new world.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Easy to say, but hard to spell

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.

The names of four US places - Cincinnati, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Tucson - are so hard to spell that thousands of people living in them can't spell them correctly.

In the spirit of the close alliance of Australia and the US illustrated by President Barack Obama's recent visit, I've composed a few rhymes to help with the spelling of those names.

By the way, how many boys in the US are named Barack? I've never heard of any in Australian although one of my great-grandchildren is named Theodore (Teddy) a name that traces back to US President Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, 26th US president, unknowingly gave the teddy bear his name, One day in 1902, while helping settle a border dispute between Mississippi and Louisiana, he took part in a bear hunt in Mississippi. Finding a wounded young bear, he ordered its mercy killing.

The Washington Post ran an editorial cartoon by the political cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman that illustrated the event. Called "Drawing the Line in Mississippi", it depicted both state line dispute and the bear hunt.

At first Berryman drew the bear as a fierce animal, as the bear had just killed a hunting dog. Later, he redrew the bear to make it a cuddly cub. The cartoon and the story it told became popular and within a year, the cartoon bear became a toy for children, which was called the teddy bear.

Let's deal with those four hard-to-spell places one at a time. I've composed a few simple rhymes to help with the spelling.

Cincinnati, Ohio, once described as The Queen City, is sometimes called Porkopolis – possibly because thousands of its citizens can't spell its name correctly. Google lists thousands of Web pages which misspell the name as Cincinatti, Cincinati, Cincinnatti, Cinncinati, Cinncinnati, Cinncinatti, Cinncinnatti, or even Sinsinati or Sinsinatti.

Travel writer Bill Bryson in his book "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" recalled: "I even got a job on the strength of it once when, in a moment of youthful audacity, I asserted to a managing editor of the London Times that I would be the only person on his staff who could reliably spell Cincinnati. (And it was so)."

By 1854, Cincinnati had become one of the largest cities in the US. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called it the Queen City. But at the same time, the city was also known as a pork-packing center and was unkindly called Porkopolis, as it is to this day.

To remember how to spell the city's name, memorize this little rhyme:

Cincinnati is a word
Hard to spell but easy heard.
It need not cause you irritation,
Just drop the ON from CIN CIN NATION.

The Ns and Ts are simply done
When written down as 1-2-1.

Thousands of people around the world have trouble spelling Massachusetts. "I can't spell it without using that song" some say, while Google has thousands of references to misspellings of the name as Massachussetts or Massachussets.

It's not a new problem. More than 150 years ago, popular author Horatio Alger wrote in "Cousin John" (first published 1856): "Ida ... was next asked to spell Massachusetts, which the squire allowed to pass unquestioned, probably because he did not feel quite certain about it himself."

The solution? Memorize one of these couplets:

"Massachusetts is tricky," the teacher confesses,
"Just remember to spell it with two tees and four esses."
The simple answer to this little riddle:
Two esses, two tees, with one ess in the middle.

Faced with the next-to-impossible problem of spelling Mississippi, millions of people around the English-speaking world fall back on that venerable children's rhyme:
M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I
Crooked letter-crooked letter-I

Others recite:
Mrs M, Mrs I, Mrs Double S I,
Mrs Double S I, Mrs Double P I.

Nearly three centuries ago, a 1718 French map in the Library of Virginia is entitled Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi. Maybe that was the correct spelling in those days.

To spell the State's name correctly, remember these lines:
Four simple words will get you by:
What you'll never MISS IS SIP PI.

Tucson, in arid Arizona, not only has trouble spelling its name, but its citizens can't even agree on how to pronounce it – it's either too-SAHN or TOO-sahn, says its official website.

In the Wild West's early days, Tucson citizens had trouble spelling the town's name. Today, despite better education, thousands of Americans face similar difficulties. Google lists many thousand pages misspelling the name as Tuscon (as in Italy's Tuscany).

How can you learn to spell Tucson? Perhaps you could memorize one of these rhymes:
Remember well, to save confusion
C before S when spelling TUCSON.
Or this one:
When spelling Tucson you must get
C before S as in the alphabet.

Or even, as a last resort:
Let's put an end to all this confusion.
We can't tell the difference 'tween Tuscan and Tucson.
The best way to end typographical stress
Is to remember to put the C before S.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Pictorial Journalism Aint What It Used To Be!

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney. Australia.<ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Way back in 1937, when I was a teenage cadet/cub reporter on The Press in Christchurch, New Zealand, I was sometimes called on to hold a metal tray of flash powder high in the air for the newspaper's sole photographer. That was my introduction to pictorial journalism.

Twenty years later and 1200 miles to the west, I was for a brief period pictorial editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph. I had to assign news jobs to six or seven photographers, select their best pictures, plan a layout for a page or pages, and write the captions.

Cameras in those days were cumbersome Speed Graphics, many times larger than today's dinky digital devices. The photographer adjusted the focus and took a single snap shot. Exactly when to take it required great skill and experience. Today anyone can point a camera in the right direction, and fire off a dozen shots in less than a second.

Those Telegraph cameramen were some of the best - perhaps THE best - in Australia. One of them, Ern McQuillan, now in his eighties, is still taking great pictures as a commercial photographer. In 1998 he was awarded an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for his services to journalism,  particularly in the field of media photography. 

Simon Elliott, former Deputy Director, National Portrait Gallery, interviews Ern McQuillan.

Mike McQuillan writes about his Dad: 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

These words DO have rhymes!

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. <ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Frustrated poets sometimes claim that no words rhyme with purple, silver, orange and month. Rubbish! There ARE words that rhyme with them. Let's deal with them one at a time.

Hurple and curple rhyme with purple. Hurple is a scottish word, meaning to hobble, or walk with a limp, and curple is a strap under the girth of a horse's saddle to stop the saddle shifting forward.

Burple was a drink mix packed in an expandable accordion-like plastic container. Kids could poke a hole in the cap to convert the container into a squirt gun

Discussing his family name, Trevar Chilver says "The Oxford English Dictionary lists chilver as an Old English noun meaning a ewe lamb, often referred to as a 'chilver lamb'."

There's a Chilver Street in the London (UK) borough of Greenwich. So a poet could write:
Jewellers sell gold and silver,
In the street that bears the name of Chilver.

The Urban Dictionary says that in the fashion world gilver is a color that is a mix of metallic gold and silver; pilver is a noun meaning the feeling one has after staying awake far too late doing nothing productive and knowing all the while that one is doing nothing productive, and a quilver is a mob of angry squirrels that may or may not be a part of a larger plot to take over the world. Pilver and Quilver are surnames.

Elizabeth Millicent (Sally) Chilver (b. 1914) a London Daily News journalist 1945-47, became a distinguished political scientist and anthropologist. The British Library of Political and Economic Science says she studied "the anthropology of the Cameroon grasslands... covering subjects including matrilineal society, witchcraft, magic and divination, with notes on the authors by Chilver; working notes on the Kingdom of Bum in the north-west province of Cameroon."

That's right: the Kingdom of Bum. We thought that must be a spoof. Not so. Take a look at the Kingdom of Bum, and Fonfuka and Lagabum websites. Fascinating!

In his amusing book "Adventures of a Verbivore" US language expert and best-selling author Richard Lederer wrote:
"It's not true that no words rhyme with orange... There was a man -- I'm not kidding -- named Henry Honeychurch Gorringe. He was a naval commander who in the mid-nineteenth century oversaw the transport of Cleopatra's Needle to New York's Central Park. Pouncing on this event, the poet Arthur Guiterman wrote:
In Sparkhill buried lies a man of mark
Who brought the Obelisk to Central Park,
Redoubtable Commander H. H. Gorringe,
Whose name supplies the long-sought rhyme for orange.

And a hill in South Wales is called "The Blorange"

How about oneth (pronounced wunth)?  Discussing Dodie Smith's book The Hundred and One Dalmatians, a reviewer wrote: "This is the original novel, published in 1956, from which the movie adaptations were made--poorly... How many people know who the actual 101th dalmatian was?"

And on a genealogy site, we found this message, posted on February 29, 2004, from Kevin Oneth: "I am a descendent of Adam Oneth." Another read "
 I am looking to connect with descendants of John and Rebecca Alspaugh Oneth." 

Of course, there are hundreds of stories read by seven-year-olds with missing front teeth, which begin Oneth upon a time.

W.S. Gilbert, a world-class rhymester, claimed in an open letter to The Graphic in 1887:
'It has long been supposed that there is no rhyme to 'month.' There is a rhyme to it--not any lisping version of such words as 'once' 'dunce,' etc., but a legitimate word in everyday use...
'millionth' as the best rhyme to 'month,' and I have the authority of the greatest poets in the English language for treating it as a tri-syllable, if I feel disposed to do so.'

One of our favorite rhymes is:
Shake, shake the ketchup bottle,
First none'll come, and then a lot'll.

No, the famous U.S. humorist Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was NOT the author of that immortal couplet, although many people claim he was. (He DID write Candy / is dandy / But liquor / is quicker.)

One website, noting that August 19 was the anniversary of Nash's birthday, gave this circumstantial but misleading account: "One summer afternoon in 1930, he jotted down a little nonsense poem and sent it to The New Yorker. The magazine bought it, and asked for more. Nash moved to Baltimore and for the next 40 years made his living entirely off of poems like:
You shake and shake the ketchup bottle,
nothing comes, and then a lot'll.

According to Nash's grand-daughter, Frances R. Smith of Baltimore, Maryland (and she should know) what he actually wrote was:
The Catsup Bottle
First a little
Then a lottle

[Catsup is another American word for ketchup. Brits and Aussies call it tomato sauce.]

Then, in 1949, another US humorist, Richard Willard Armour (1906-1989), seems to have gleefully seized on Nash's rhyme, and produced the couplet that many people enjoy reciting to this day.

Armour was a master of the comical one-liner. Here are three of his wisecracks:
o Middle age is the time of life / that a man first notices in his wife.
o It's all right to hold a conversation, but you should let go of it now and then.
o A rumor is one thing that gets thicker instead of thinner as it is spread.

Apart from lot'll, it's not difficult to find a suitable rhyme for bottle. We can think of throttle, wattle, dottle (a plug of tobacco remaining in a pipe after a smoke), glottal and mottle.

Ogden Nash found a rhyme for parsley by slightly changing the spelling of ghastly. He wrote Parsley / is gharstly.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Natty Bumppo - What a Great Name!

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. <ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Back in the early 1970s there were two young lawyers named John Dean. One of them, John Wesley Dean III, became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover up. The FBI called him "master manipulator of the cover up"

So when the second John Dean was setting up shop as an attorney in Brownsville, Kentucky. he decided to adopt a new name, to avoid being mistaken for the Watergate criminal. He chose the memorable and resounding name Nathaniel John Balthazar Bumppo, and has revelled in that name ever since.

The original  Natty Bumppo, aka Hawkeye, was a character in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. A child of white parents, he grew up with Native Americans, becoming a fearless warrior who hunted only what he needed to survive, living by the rule, "One shot, one kill." 

The second Natty Bumppo was born in 1940.  As a young man, he was a reporter on (in turn) the Terre Haute Star; Associated Press, Indianapolis Star, Detroit News, Indianapolis Star, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Examiner and Detroit Free Press,

He worked as a bartender at the Golden Horse Shoe saloon in Oakland, California, in 1968, as a Candygram delivery man for Western Union, San Francisco, on Valentine's Day, 1969.

He became a mail order minister of the Universal Life Church (bonded to perform marriages) in 1974.

Natty says he's been married five times but divorced only four. He wrote a hilarious article 'Why I'd Rather Be Natty Bumppo than John Dean (Wouldn't Everybody?),' published by Esquire magazine in June 1975.

In his spare time, Natty is an avid euchre player, and has written a book about that once-popular card game. "Euchre is a poor man's bridge," Natty declares. "Bridge is for discerners. Chess is for discerners. Euchre is for drunken slobs who think they know what they are doing."

He also edits an amusing and informative weekly newsletter, Tabloid Headlines. 

POSTSCRIPT. Today's email from Natty:
 In the early 1950s I was not yet even a teen-ager (until June 16, 1953, my 13th birthday); and neither was John W. Dean III until October 14, 1951, his 13th birthday.  He did not become a lawyer until 1965, and I did not become a lawyer until 1973.

I met him, by the way; and that's a rather interesting story in itself.  In June of 2004 (I think it was), the year his book
Worse Than Watergate was published, he was a guest lecturer at the Kentucky Bar Association convention in Covington, Kentucky.  

After his lecture, he autographed copies of his new book.  I got in line.  When I got to the front of the line, I shook his hand and said, "Mr. Dean, I did not buy a copy of your book; I just wanted to meet you.  My name is Natty Bumppo."

"Oh," he said.  "That's a very interesting name."

Friends behind me in the line egged me on.  "Ask him what his name
used to be," they urged him.

When I told him, he said, "Oh!  Didn't I read about you in the newspapers?"

Ha, ha.  Didn't
he read about me in the papers?

Here's a link to the
Esquire article, and here's one to Tabloid Headlines.

Natty Bumppo - YouTube

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Ian and Beth's Apple Wedding

From ERIC SHACKLE in Sydney, Australia.<ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Apple people have some qualities that set them apart from other computer nerds. In a tribute to Steve Jobs, Stephen Fry wrote, "I cannot claim he was a friend but over thirty year or so years I bumped into him from time to time and he was always warm, charming, funny and easy to talk to."

My friends Ian Scott-Parker and his wife Beth Lock, both Apple devotees, share those qualities. Last week was their 10th  wedding anniversary.

Beth Lock used to write an amusing monthly column in MyMac Magazine, which said of her: "Beth has been around Macintosh computers since 1990, but still doesn't understand how they work. She admits that new software is a pain to learn and rarely upgrades anything. Beth's hobbies include reading the same internet sites every day and googling her friends to see if they are listed on the internet." 

Ten years ago she wrote a delightful story in MyMac  called I Married a Mac Man, in which she  described how she and Ian first exchanged emails after My Mac Magazine published one of her stories in November 1999.

Oh, there were obstacles, one of which was that he lived 6,000 miles away from me, in England, Beth recalled. But, being a Mac woman who knew the value of a good Mac man, I didn't let such a little thing as distance deter me. After all, this is the age of the internet. The World Wide Web. He was never more than a phone line away. 

We wrote, and wrote, and wrote to one another, long passionate emails full of hopes, wishes, laughter, crying and dreams. We graduated to Instant Messaging, then to telephone calls. Then it wasn't enough. We had to meet.
The naysayers warned me. They questioned me. They even prayed for me. But I got on the plane anyhow and flew to Scotland, to meet my Mac man. He booked a two bedroom self-catering cottage for us at Loch Lomond.

Our agreement was that if one or the other of us didn't smell right to the other, we'd just have a lovely vacation together, and be merrily on our mutual way. He even had the courtesy to write to my father and assure him that his intentions toward me were honorable in every way. Honor, one of the qualities of a true Mac man.

I didn't have to see his hardware to know, it was apparent from the moment we met.

We married two days after we met at the airport in Glasgow, on November 2, 2000. This man didn't haul me off to a preacher, though. No, this is a Mac man. He married me in Hell's Glen overlooking Loch Fyne on that star-filled frosty night...

On the way back to the cottage he stopped at a take out for fish and chips, for our wedding supper. There were no photographers, no witnesses other than God and the stars. 

My wedding ring is a silver 'fede' ring, handcrafted in the borders area. Only a Mac man would plan a wedding like that.

The couple had a "real" wedding, attended by friends and relatives, when they returned to Beth's hometown of Hurricane, Utah, a few days later.

RELATED STORY.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/7275293/Apple-obsessed-American-couple-marry-at-New-York-store-on-Valentines-Day.html

Sunday, 30 October 2011

How do you feel when the bells begin to peal?

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.<ericshackleATbigpond.com>

You'd have to be pretty long in the tooth to remember a
catchy pop tune of the 1920s called Ever So Goosey.

It was written by two Australians, Wright Butler and
Raymond Wallace, and was performed by Ray Starita
and his Ambassadors Band.

Here are the lyrics of what was called a comedy song:

How do you feel when you marry your ideal?

Ever so goosey, goosey, goosey, goosey.

How do you feel when the bells begin to peal?

Ever so goosey, goosey, goosey, goosey.

Walking up the aisle, in a kind of daze,

Do you get the wind up when the organ plays?

How do you feel when the parson's done the deal?

Ever so goosey, goosey, goosey, goosey.

Ray Wallace also composed an equally popular song, "All good friends and

jolly good company
" in 1931.

It has been recorded by many artists including Randolph Sutton, Ella Shields, Paul Whitman and Jack Hylton and his Orchestra with vocalist Pat O'Malley.

Here we are again, happy as can be

All good friends and jolly good company

Driving round the town, out upon a spree

All good friends and jolly good company

Never mind the weather, never mind the rain

Now we're all together, whoops she goes again

La Dee dah Dee dah, la Dee dah Dee Dee

All good friends and jolly good company

When those songs were in their infancy, errand boys 

would whistle the tunes while riding their bikes.

Today's boys still ride bikes, but they don't run errands. 

Sadly, some of them don't even know how to whistle a lively tune.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Who Really Wrote Shakespeare's Plays?

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. <ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Was Edward de Vere or Christopher Marlowe the real author of the plays and poems that most of us attribute to William Shakespeare? Two films, one American. the other Australian, suggest that the answer may be "Yes."

Hollywood Dishonors the Bard was the headline the New York Times gave to James Shapiro's review of Roland Emmerich's latest film, Anonymous.

The film's distributors claimed it “presents a compelling portrait of Edward de Vere as the true author of Shakespeare’s plays."

Shapro commented, "That’s according to the lesson plans that Sony Pictures has been distributing to literature and history teachers in the hope of convincing students that Shakespeare was a fraud. A documentary by First Folio Pictures (of which Mr. Emmerich is president) will also be part of this campaign."

The case for Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, Shapiro wrote, dates from 1920, when J. Thomas Looney, an English writer who loathed democracy and modernity, argued that only a worldly nobleman could have created such works of genius.

Shakespeare, a glover’s son and money-lender, could never have done so. Looney also showed that episodes in de Vere’s life closely matched events in the plays.

His theory has since attracted impressive supporters, including Sigmund Freud, the Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and his former colleague John Paul Stevens, and now Mr. Emmerich.

"Promoters of de Vere’s cause have a lot of evidence to explain away," said Shapiro, "including testimony of contemporary writers, court records and much else that confirms that Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him.

"Meanwhile, not a shred of documentary evidence has ever been found that connects de Vere to any of the plays or poems.....

"Perhaps the greatest obstacle facing de Vere’s supporters is that he died in 1604, before 10 or so of Shakespeare’s plays were written...

"The most troubling thing about Anonymous is not that it turns Shakespeare into an illiterate money-grubber. It’s not even that England’s virgin Queen Elizabeth is turned into a wantonly promiscuous woman who is revealed to be both the lover and mother of de Vere.

"Rather, it’s that in making the case for de Vere, the film turns great plays into propaganda.

"In the film de Vere is presented as a child prodigy, writing and starring in 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' in 1559 at the age of 9...
Anonymous weds Looney’s class-obsessed arguments to the political motives supplied by later de Vere advocates, who claimed that de Vere was Elizabeth’s illegitimate son and therefore the rightful heir to the English throne.

"By bringing this unsubstantiated version of history to the screen, a lot of facts — theatrical and political — are trampled.

"Supporters of de Vere’s candidacy who have awaited this film with excitement may come to regret it, for Anonymous shows, quite devastatingly, how high a price they must pay to unseat Shakespeare. 

"Why anyone is drawn to de Vere’s cause is the real mystery, one not so easily solved as who was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays."

So much for de Vere.. But another band of scholars and researchers are convinced that the real author of the most famous plays and poems in the English language faked his own dramatic death, after conspiring with a village actor for his plays to be published as the work of that actor, one William Shakespeare.

They claim that Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe, officially reported to have been killed in a knife fight at the age of 29, had in fact faked his death and fled to Italy.

There, they believe, he continued to write, his work being published in England in Shakespeare's name.

Many others have doubts about the bard, and have suggested a wide range of other men who could have written Shakespeare's works.

If the Marlowe conspiracy theory is ever proved, millions of the world's text books will have to be rewritten, and the British tourism industry will have to shift its focus from Stratford-on-Avon to Canterbury, where Marlowe, "duelist, scapegrace, genius, and poet" (and probably homosexual atheist) was born in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare.

For centuries, doubts have been expressed about Shakespeare's ability to write the works attributed to him. 

Another film has a different explanation and  presents a different contender.

To quote Australian film-maker Michael Rubbo: 

"The doubts centre mainly around Shakespeare's education, or lack thereof. The plays and poems are very learned, the vocabulary gigantic, and yet there is no evidence he went to school, and he certainly did not go to university, the training ground for many of the best playwrights of the day.

"Shakespeare was so uninterested in culture that he appears to have owned no books, to have not educated his own daughters, and made no cultural contribution to the town in which he lived and died."

Back in 1955, Calvin Hoffman, a Broadway (New York) press agent and writer, published The Murder of the Man Who Was 'Shakespeare. In his book, long out of print, Hoffman claimed that Marlowe did not die young, that his "death" was a ruse to escape the 'English Inquisition', and that he fled to live in Italy. 

There, he continued writing plays, to be published at home under the name of a front man in the London theatre world - William Shakespeare.

Michael Rubbo became so engrossed in the theory that he explored it for five years. Wondering whether Hoffman had exposed what might be "the biggest cover-up in literary history," he made a film called Much Ado About Something.

His documentary has been shown several times in the US by the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), twice in the UK by the BBC, in other European countries, and at least three times in Australia.

In New York, where the film had a two-week season at Film Forum, a West Village art house, it received mixed but generally favorable reviews.

Here in Australia, Mike bought a projector and toured New South Wales and Victoria with Much Ado as well as presenting one-night screenings in the State capitals.

After the film was shown in London, Britain's best-selling history monthly, BBC History Magazine, said: "Michael Rubbo takes a rather weary topic... and gives it a hugely entertaining new lease of life."

And in Melbourne, Melanie Sheridan wrote in Beat Magazine: "The story contains espionage, conspiracy theories, faked deaths, cover-ups, identity theft, homosexuality and sex... it's so outrageous Hollywood would love it. It could be re-written as the next Bond flick: Murder, He Wrote."

The film plays as a road movie as Rubbo goes to England into the very heart of what he calls bardolatry to debate the academics in their dens. He uses actors and recreations to test his version of the Hoffman Theory. He gives screen time to the Marlovians, some persuasive, others somewhat eccentric.

"I began to shoot my documentary, working solo with a small digital camera, making a vow that I would stop at any point," says Rubbo. "I was quite ready to cut my losses if anyone could convince me that Hoffman's thesis was silly.

"I took several years, on and off, shooting the film. I slept at a friend's house in south London, and made frequent visits to Italy, where Marlowe might have gone in exile.

"Then, I spent a very long period editing, coupled with approaches to broadcasters who were hostile at first but gradually came around. 

"As the editing progressed, I circulated many copies, asking for feedback from scholars and lay viewers alike. I was obsessed with eliminating all errors.

"I continue to read on the subject and wake in the middle of the night with a new angle on the mystery, or a new reason to doubt the bard.

"Just as some people become obsessed with this authorship question, others find it profoundly upsetting. As Sue Hunt says in the film, the English, and not just the English, take in Shakespeare with their mother's milk.

"All over the world, he is loved beyond all questioning, beyond all doubts. And yet once you know a bit of the story, the doubts may begin. Also, the more one is told that one must blindly believe in Shakespeare, the more the doubts multiply.

"It is human nature I suppose for the forbidden to fascinate, and to doubt Shakespeare is virtually forbidden, certainly in academic circles. Not only forbidden, but very upsetting. 

"One famous scholar, Tucker Brooke, said in a candid moment, 'Even if Shakespeare stood up in his grave and said he was not the author, we would not believe him.'

"In unguarded moments some fierce defenders of Shakespeare do show some puzzlement. Harold Bloom, author of the magnificent book Shakespeare, the Invention of the Human, wonders why the man is so colorless. It does not seem to fit with the huge power and personality of the Bard.

"And Sam Schoenbaum, the great American scholar, author of Shakespeare's Lives, wonders why Shakespeare cut such a low profile in his time. One would think that such a towering talent would have attracted much interest from his contemporaries, and yet he did not.

"Mark Rylance, director of Shakespeare's Globe theatre, says William could not have done it alone. He joins a long line of intellectuals and theatre people, including Henry James, Mark Twain, Charles Chaplin, Sigmund Freud, and Derek Jacobi, who have doubts. The list grows by the day."

Distinguished English historical researcher and writer Katherine Duncan-Jones in her book, Ungentle Shakespeare, said Shakespeare was not the divine William of legend, but a rather unlikable man, a money-minded fellow who dealt eagerly and profitably in real-estate, and lent money to people at high rates of interest.

At a screening of his film in Australia, Rubbo was asked if he believed Marlowe was the real Shakespeare. "I'm not sure," he said. "But if Shakespeare didn't write his own works, Marlowe seems to be the most likely alternative." 



Tuesday, 18 October 2011

How Far Can a Ball Be Thrown?

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia  <ericsdhackleATbigpond>

Irish-born James Patrick Garvan (1843-1896), who migrated to Sydney, once threw a cricket ball a record distance of 121 yards 1 foot (98.75 metres). Does that record still stand?

Apart from his ball-throwing prowess, Patrick Garvan was a remarkable man indeed. He was a competitive sculler and amateur heavyweight boxer. He was an insurance entrepreneur who founded today's MLC insurance company, and a politician who was Minister of Justice, Attorney General and Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales in the late 1880s.

His daughter later donated 100,000 pounds towards the cost of establishing The Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

But we digress. We tried to find how far a cricket ball or baseball (they're much the same size) - or even a golf ball - has ever been thrown.

Scouring the internet, we found that British Olympic javelin-thrower Roald Bradstock holds the world record for throwing an iPod (154 yards), an egg (118 yards) and a goldfish (56 yards). And he has thrown a golf ball 170 yards (160 metres).

Back in 1884, another Englishman, Robert Percival, threw a cricket ball 422 feet (128.6  metres) at Durham Sands racecourse.

On August 1, 1947, a Canadian, Glen Gorbous, hurled a baseball 445 feet 10 inches (135.89 metres). It has been estimated that Glen's "muzzle" velocity would have been around 120 mph (193 kph), with a running start.

The Gorbous drill, a special training technique developed for baseball throwing, was named after him. It involves throwing the ball straight up in the air as a way of developing the muscles used in distance throwing.

World-famous athlete Mildred "Babe" Didrikson threw a baseball 296 ft. (90.22 metres) on July 25, 1931, and that probably is still the furthest a woman has ever managed to throw a ball.

You might think that a cricket ball, being slightly heavier and smaller than a baseball, would fly further, but that's not borne out by past statistics.

 Spectators at The Oval (London) in 1878 wildly applauded cricket icon, Dr. William Gilbert Grace, when he threw a ball more than 116 yards (106.07 metres) three times with the wind, and more than 100 yards (91.44 metres) in the opposite direction.

In a profile of the great doctor, Duncan Hewett, who lives in Bristol (Dr. Grace's home town) says: "W.G. Grace was a legend in England in his lifetime. The nation admired him. 

"He perhaps could have been an even better player if is wasn't for food. He enjoyed his lunch at matches too. A number of times he got out shortly after a big meal.

"A whiskey often accompanied his food. He was once compared to Henry VIII.

"Grace scored 54,896 runs at an average of 39.55. He is still the fifth highest scoring player of all time. He wasn't just a batsman though. He took 2876 wickets at an average of 17.92 - the sixth highest wicket taker of all time.

"On two occasions (1873, 1876) he scored 2000 runs and took 100 wickets in one season. He also make 887 catches, which is still the second highest number of catches taken by anyone in their career. 

"All of this was done in 43 years between 1865 and 1908 when he eventually retired, aged 59."

By throwing a cricket ball more than 116 yards (106.07 metres), Grace narrowly beat what may have been the record, set by a famous bare-knuckle fighter, William Abednego Thompson (1811-1880), better known as Bendigo.

Naturally lefthanded, Bendigo fought as a southpaw, but used his right hand to throw a cricket ball 115 yards (105.16 metres). On another memorable occasion, using his left hand, he hurled half a brick across the River Trent - a distance of 70 yards (64.01 metres).

Bendigo, the youngest of 21 children, was one of triplets named Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego, after the young men in the Old Testament who emerged unharmed from the fiery furnace of Babylon.

A biographer wrote "He excelled at all outdoor sports - running, somersaulting, cricket and stone throwing, and like many others indulged in badger-baiting and cock-fighting at local pubs... His angling gained him a few prizes and he was also known to swim a bit, pulling three drowning folks out of the River Trent during his lifetime."

Bendigo became so famous that an Australian goldmining town adopted his name (with a population of 92,000, Bendigo is now Victoria's fourth largest city). 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a ballad entitled Bendigo's Sermon which can be found on the internet at Wikisource

You can see Roald Bradstock throwing a golf ball 170 yards in this video: 
or google "longest golf ball throw"

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Adventurers Reach Remote Rotuma

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.<ericshackleATbigpond.com>

The intrepid band of treasure hunters led by Australian adventurer Don McIntyre in the icebreaker ICE have landed on Rotuma Island, one of the Fiji group. Here is Don's account, copied from his website:

Rotuma island appeared at first light on Wednesday, completing the 900 miles in exactly 6 days and 210 gal. fuel including all the head currents, so happy about that.

This place is heaven…We anchored in crystal clear ‘special’ blue water at 0700, with no sign of civilisation, in a beautiful bleached white super fine sandy bay beside a small outer island,,, coconut palms, black volcanic rocks… just incredible!

At 9am .Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Doctor all turned up from the other end of the mountain's volcanic island that is very spectacular. We were happy about that as Jane and I were about to land and make the 3 hr walk in the sun to visit them.

There is no anchorage by the village they are in…2000 people live here but we have only seen five people in the last two days..and one was a 56-year-old guy who was asking Mark about Jane! He lives with his mum and has never left the island…and there are no available women as they all go to Fiji!

So we have been catching fish, making awesomely spectacular scuba dives, snorkeling and spear fishing , beachcombing, night time crayfish spotting, having barbies etc. all on a place that seems deserted..Very few people come here and they get one supply boat a month…

The plan now is to leave on Saturday..It is just too good here..

Tomorrow we are going to try getting around the island..about a 12-mile circuit on a dirt road/track..There is one car here in this bay and the driver may be able to take us... sort of a trip to town too....not sure what we will find.

We should get to the Yasawas on Monday, stay for a few days there and then head to the marina at Vuda Point..Mel has apparently gone on a holiday and not back till Tuesday, so no problem for us….this is so good after Tarawa!

Will blog again on Saturday night once we are under way..Turtles cruise past every day now instead of oil slicks and rubbish..life is how it should be.


Don has promised to donate 20 per cent of any treasure he finds to the Sheffield Institute Foundation for research into Motor Neurone Disease and other Neurological disorders.

You can follow Don's adventures or email him  by visiting his blog, www.bluetreasure.me 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Bhutan Enters the 21st Century

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.  <ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Bhutan, a tiny landlocked kingdom perched high in the Himalayas, between India and China, will take a giant step into the 21st century on November 1, with the official inauguration of its first  IT (Information Technology) park.  

An impressive three-storey building constructed in the traditional Bhutanese style but with 21st century technology, Thimphu TechPark has been built by Thimphu Techpark Pvt Ltd, a joint venture of Druk Holdings and Investments and Assetz, a property development firm with headquarters in India and Singapore.

It's similar to Singapore, where the government provides liberal economic laws and ancillary features (water, sewerage, electricity and fibre connectivity) to attract foreign companies to operate within its borders.
Assetz employed an Australian, Ian Shackle, formerly from Mudgee, New South Wales, to oversee construction of the park. (Disclosure: I'm his father). I asked him about plans for the official opening in an email. to which he replied:
"We have guests coming from 103 countries, heads of state from several, the Prime Minister and five other Ministers from Bhutan. Even Bill Gates is invited. And our officiating VIP is the King's mother."
This will be the second important milestone in Bhutan's recent history. The first was on October 13, when King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, married 21-year-old Jetsun Perma 

The ceremony was broadcast live in a country where television and the Internet did not exist until 1999.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Treasure Hunters Set Sail for Fiji

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.   <ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Australian adventurer Don McIntyre and his doughty crew have set sail from
Tarawa, and are now heading for Fiji, on the first leg  of a global search for lost treasure.

They are travelling in an icebreaker named ICE,
a 15.2metre  40-tonne steel ice-strengthened motor sailor dive support vessel.

"Jane is on watch now till 2100 hrs" Don reports on his website, "then me for three hours,..then Mark at midnight. We are running three four-hour watches during the day and four
  three-hour watches at night... we had meat pies for lunch, and microwave dinner followed by the free ICE cream you get when you buy 5-litre yellow buckets in Tarawa..now we will havetwo of those! 

  "Looks like we will cross the equator again at about 2200hrs tonight ... so all good for now... we are very alert doing the hourly engine room checks..for now 1600rpm and 1.5gall fuel per hour..making 5.8 knots with the main and mizzen up into 18 knots apparent wind and 40degrees on port bow..

"Hopefully I will get some sleep tonight....with one eye open!"

Don has promised to donate 20 per cent of any treasure he finds to the Sheffield Institute Foundation for research into Motor Neurone Disease and other Neurological disorders.

You can follow Don's adventures or email him  by visiting his blog, www.bluetreasure.me

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Proud Dynasties in US, UK and Oz

From ERIC SHACKLE in Sydney, Australia <ericshackleATbigpond.com>

Down the centuries, Britain has recorded its royals by name, followed by Roman numerals. Henry and George are easy winners, scoring eight each. Henry VIII had more wives than George VIII.

Now we notice a similar trend in the US, where one guy boasts the proud name of Griffith Rutherford Harsh V.

He's the wayward son of neurosurgeon Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV and prominent business executive Margaret Cushing "Meg" Whitman, who hopes to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California.

Thomas Cruise Mapother IV is the real name of the American film actor and director Tom Cruise. His father was  Thomas Cruise Mapother III. His great-grandfather, Thomas Cruise O'Mara,  was adopted by a Welsh immigrant named Mapother, and renamed Thomas Cruise Mapother.

Confusingly, one of Cruise's cousins,  William Reibert Mapother, Jr.is another American actor who is known by that name. 

William Clinton is another dynastic name, harking back to William de Clinton, first Earl of Huntingdon (1304–1354).  An English nobleman,William Henry Clinton (1769–1846), was a British general from a prominent military family; who served in the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

Former US president William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born. Four years later his mother married Roger Clinton, Sr. Although he assumed use of his stepfather's surname, it was not until Billy (as he was known then) was 14 that he formally adopted the surname Clinton.

Stephen Hess wrote about US dynasties in the Washington Post two years ago.
"American public life is saturated with them", he said. "Kennedys, Bushes, Clintons. Powerful individuals connected to one another by blood or by marriage who, deservedly or not, take on that most paradoxical of American labels: dynasty."

Another American, George Herbert Walker IV (born April 1969) is Chairman and CEO of Neuberger Berman.

The male children within a single nuclear family are not numbered sequentially, as all members of the larger family are part of the same numbering system. For example, the sons of Prince Heinrich LXVII Reuss of Schleiz were, in order, Heinrich V, Heinrich VIII, Heinrich XI, Heinrich XIV, and Heinrich XVI

In the UK, Tom Green told Yahoo Answers: 'I have the same name as both my grandfather and my (now deceased) great grandfather. I have a different name to my father. Does this still make me Thomas Green III?"

The "best answer": "Generally, no. However, there are specific circumstances where it would. e.g., Queen Elizabeth II was born centuries after Queen Elizabeth I. But, for us commoners, it needs to be in successive generations. So, your grandfather would have been the II (second), but you are not the III (third)."

BBC Radio 4 says, "The Dynasties series has now ended. It covered over a thousand years of influence wielded by the power brokers of Britain and Ireland.

"These are not the stories of the kings and queens of England. Instead, these are the tales of the powerful families who were there before the monarch was, and who were still there long after his or her reign - or even royal dynasty - had come to an end.

"Indeed, these are the families who have been the political and constitutional power brokers of British history, true powers behind thrones".

The BBC featured these families:

The Carringtons
A family close to the royalty and the corridors of power over the last 200 years.

The Dalrymples
A powerful Scottish family that will always be remembered for the Glencoe massacre.

The Norfolks
The Norfolks survived the demise of their mentor, Richard lll, to become of the most powerful Catholic families in England.

The Russells
The Russells were a political family that also produced a great social reformer as well as one of the 20th century's greatest philosophers.

The Berkeleys
One of the great land owning families of the middle ages, they were famously involved in the grisly murder of a monarch.

The Churchills
The Churchills achieved prominence during the Restoration but rose to another zenith in the 19th and 20 centuries.

The Irish
The mighty rebel Irish peers were a thorn in the side of England until the death of the 'Great O'Neill'.

The Despensers
The first of the medieval power brokers. Their influence spanned the reigns of three monarchs yet in the end it brought them nothing but tragedy.

The Godwines
The first of the dynasties. Their power rose in late Saxon England until one of their family, Harold ll, took the crown.

In Australia, we have a famous family, descendants of William Wentworth, whose great-grandson William Wentworth IV was a member of Parliament 1949-77.

An ABC radio feature in 2003  described William Wentworth  I in these terms: "Our greatest colonial dynasty was founded by 'the bastard son of a highway robber by a convict whore': WC Wentworth, the father of colonial self-government and an explorer of the Blue Mountains. But his birthright was hidden by his own family, using its fortune over generations to remake itself into a pillar of the establishment. Today, the money and ancestral estate are gone, the family yet to shake off its maverick legacy."

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Little kids go mutton-busting

From ERIC SHACKLE,, in Sydney, Australia. <ericshackle*bigpond.com>

Six years ago I wrote a story about sheep races held around the world.  I mentioned that Ric Turner, who runs an entertainment park at Bideford (pronounced Biddy-ford) in England, straps toy woolen jockeys on the backs of his sheep before sending them on their way.

Now, to my dismay, I've discovered that Americans promoting an annual fair at Puyallup, near Tacoma, Washington, put small children, aged three to six, on the backs of sheep, like riders in a rodeo.

Judging by the youngsters' expressions, as far as can be seen in a video (see below), they don't seem to be enjoying the experience. The sheep don't seem to care for it either.

These juvenile rodeos are held in many US towns. Google "videos mutton busting" and you'll find a dozen examples.  Several of these videos show toddlers being lifted on to sheep, and then being thrown off, to the applause of all except the kid's parents. Some of the kids are in tears.

 When I told Ric Turner about this, he replied:
'I'm aware that they have done mutton busting as they call it in Australia at camp drafts or rodeos for a number of year and was riding a bull at an event as a student 25 years ago when the kids were doing this.

"I think that it is pretty stupid for the children on a health and safety level when they could get badly hurt. The sheep are certainly able to carry the weight, having been trying to catch a big wether for shearing and been carted around the shearing pen, but it will be very stressful taking them out of their environment into an arena and having crowds shouting at them.

"I much prefer our sheep racing with knitted jockeys and the sheep racing for food at the end.

"I am aware that as far as animal welfare there are massively differing standards and levels of acceptable behaviour in different parts of the world. If we were to do mutton busting in the UK , the RSPCA and the general public would be in uproar."

I'd thought that mutton-busting was a unique American pastime, but according to Ric, it has also occurred  here in Australia.  Sure we have numerous  rodeos, but I've never heard of any of them ever having included mutton-busting as a crowd-pleaser.  We'll leave that to the Yanks.

"Mutton busting is a fun rodeo event for kids," proclaims McClain's Mutton Busters and Kids' Ranch Rodeo in Republican City, Nebraska.

"Straddle those sheep, hang on and go for the ride of your life.

"Fun to watch. Fun to do. It's great entertainment for everyone!

"We Provide:     Prior To Show:
15 years experience and over 60,000 riders     We register all contestants
24 foot brightly painted trailer so kids know we have arrived     We will have a release paper to be signed by the parents.
Over 30 sheep
Safety clowns who help the kids in the arena     Each contestant is weighed.
(Critical to the safety of the sheep.)
Wrangler for sheep
Coordinator for the show     Each contestant is given a number for their back and a picture of the clowns.
Small PA system     We provide helmets for safety
Jokes, laughs, and clown acts     We provide instructions on how to ride sheep
We provide insurance    

"WE DO IT ALL! All you need to do is furnish a sheep tight arena, sit back and relax!"

The story about sheep racing around the world, written in 2005, is posted here (click on cached):

Eric Shackle's eBook - Sheep Racing
- Cached

Champion racehorses burst from their starting boxes and charge towards the finish line, eager to win. Racing sheep, by contrast, usually prefer to amble.

And here's the Puyallup video:

 Mutton Bustin' at the Puyallup Fair - YouTube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_pVPWulbds www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_pVPWulbds 5 min - 12 Sep 2008 - Uploaded by punch44
Kids ages 3-6 riding sheep. ... Mutton Bustin' at the Puyallup Fair. punch44 2 videos. Subscribe Alert icon S