Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thought for the Day


Something brought to mind the other day that my daughter, when quite young, used to enjoy Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, a re-interpretation of 6 well known fairy tales with a twist in the endings. I used to enjoy reading them to her.

Here is one from those days . . .


I guess you think you know this story.
You don't. The real one's much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all soft and sappy
Just to keep the children happy.
Mind you, they got the first bit right,
The bit where, in the dead of night,
The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
Departed for the Palace Ball,
While darling little Cinderella
Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
Where rats who wanted things to eat,
Began to nibble at her feet.

She bellowed 'Help!' and 'Let me out!
The Magic Fairy heard her shout.
Appearing in a blaze of light,
She said: 'My dear, are you all right?'
'All right?' cried Cindy. 'Can't you see
'I feel as rotten as can be!'
She beat her fist against the wall,
And shouted, 'Get me to the Ball!
'There is a Disco at the Palace!
'The rest have gone and I am jealous!
'I want a dress! I want a coach!
'And earrings and a diamond brooch!
'And silver slippers, two of those!
'And lovely nylon panty hose!
'Done up like that I'll guarantee
'The handsome Prince will fall for me!'
The Fairy said, 'Hang on a tick.'
She gave her wand a mighty flick
And quickly, in no time at all,
Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

It made the Ugly Sisters wince
To see her dancing with the Prince.
She held him very tight and pressed
herself against his manly chest.
The Prince himself was turned to pulp,
All he could do was gasp and gulp.
Then midnight struck. She shouted, 'Heck!
I've got to run to save my neck!'
The Prince cried, 'No! Alas! Alack!'
He grabbed her dress to hold her back.
As Cindy shouted, 'Let me go!'
The dress was ripped from head to toe.

She ran out in her underwear,
And lost one slipper on the stair.
The Prince was on it like a dart,
He pressed it to his pounding heart,
'The girl this slipper fits,' he cried,
'Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!
I'll visit every house in town
'Until I've tracked the maiden down!'
Then rather carelessly, I fear,
He placed it on a crate of beer.

At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,
(The one whose face was blotched with blisters)
Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,
And quickly flushed it down the loo.
Then in its place she calmly put
The slipper from her own left foot.
Ah ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,
And Cindy's luck starts looking sicker.

Next day, the Prince went charging down
To knock on all the doors in town.
In every house, the tension grew.
Who was the owner of the shoe?
The shoe was long and very wide.
(A normal foot got lost inside.)
Also it smelled a wee bit icky.
(The owner's feet were hot and sticky.)
Thousands of eager people came
To try it on, but all in vain.
Now came the Ugly Sisters' go.
One tried it on. The Prince screamed, 'No!'
But she screamed, 'Yes! It fits! Whoopee!
'So now you've got to marry me!'
The Prince went white from ear to ear.
He muttered, 'Let me out of here.'
'Oh no you don't! You made a vow!
'There's no way you can back out now!'
'Off with her head!' the Prince roared back.
They chopped it off with one big whack.
This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said,
'She's prettier without her head.'
Then up came Sister Number Two,
Who yelled, 'Now I will try the shoe!'
'Try this instead!' the Prince yelled back.
He swung his trusty sword and smack
Her head went crashing to the ground.
It bounced a bit and rolled around.
In the kitchen, peeling spuds,
Cinderella heard the thuds
Of bouncing heads upon the floor,
And poked her own head round the door.
'What's all the racket? 'Cindy cried.
'Mind your own bizz,' the Prince replied.
Poor Cindy's heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone
Who does that sort of thing for fun?

The Prince cried, 'Who's this dirty slut?
'Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'
Just then, all in a blaze of light,
The Magic Fairy hove in sight,
Her Magic Wand went swoosh and swish!
'Cindy! ' she cried, 'come make a wish!
'Wish anything and have no doubt
'That I will make it come about!'
Cindy answered, 'Oh kind Fairy,
'This time I shall be more wary.
'No more Princes, no more money.
'I have had my taste of honey.
I'm wishing for a decent man.
'They're hard to find. D'you think you can?'
Within a minute, Cinderella
Was married to a lovely feller,
A simple jam maker by trade,
Who sold good home-made marmalade.
Their house was filled with smiles and laughter
And they were happy ever after.

Roald Dahl

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Thought for the Day

In case you missed it . . .


Some items from yesterday’s newspapers.

A minute’s silence:

Fernando Alvarez, aged 57, from Cadiz, Spain, is a competitor in the 17th FINA Masters World Championships being held in Budapest, Hungary. Having made it into the 200m breaststroke final, he asked the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to hold a minute’s silence before his race as a mark of respect and solidarity for those 16 killed and the many injured in the terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Spain. No, said the officials, they didn’t have the time to spare. When the start for his race sounded and his fellow competitors all dived off the start blocks, Fernando stayed put and observed his own minute’s silence. When that was done, he dived in and completed his race. 

Commented Fernando afterwards:
'They told me that it was not possible [to have a minute's silence] because neither a minute could be wasted, so I started a minute later. But I do not mind, I have a feeling worth more than if I win all the gold medals in the world.' 
The schedule ended up being one minute late and . . . nothing happened. Funny that.

Story link:

The eclipse:

The U S of A experienced a solar eclipse yesterday, observed by many. 

As even schoolkids know, you do not directly look at an eclipse. Doing so can fry your retinas, causing you to be in your own private Day of the Triffids scenario. To observe an eclipse, either wear protective eyewear or use a pinhole method where a piece of paper with a hole is held over another piece: 

The Pres, along with Melania and Barron, watched the eclipse with protective eyewear:

For reasons not explained and with cameras clicking away, the Pres then took off the protective eyewear and stared at the eclipse:

I have my own theory on why he did it.

Over 1,000 years ago, King Canute tried to turn back the tide. The true story is that he did so to show his flattering courtiers that he had no control over the elements (the incoming tide), explaining that secular power is vain compared to the supreme power of God.

I think Trump tried to reverse the eclipse.

Call it fake news if you want but it’s as good a theory as any.

Story link:

By the way:

Bonnie Tyler, 66, picked up some $$$ by singing her 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart on board the cruise ship Oasis of the Seas during the actual eclipse as part of the Total Eclipse Cruise that sailed from Orlando, Florida to the Caribbean.  The eclipse also boosted sales of her hit and pushed it into No 1 on the US iTunes list.

Story link:

Dumping Australia Day:

For many years, indigenous Australians have protested Australia Day as a day of mourning, that it signified the start of invasion and dispossession. Australia Day is celebrated on 26th January, the date that the Brit flag was formally unfurled on Oz soil. For indigenous Australians and supporters it has become known as Invasion day.

Traditionally Australia Day has been used as a date for citizenship ceremonies. A week ago Yarra Council in Melbourne dumped Australia Day as the date for such ceremonies, causing the Federal Government to remove its authority to hold citizenship ceremonies. 

Now Darebin Council in Melbourne, after surveying 81 people (!) has followed suit, determining to replace the ceremony with a “culturally appropriate event” that would be respectful to indigenous Australians. The Council will drop all references to Australia Day, including renaming its Australia Day Awards the “Darebin Community Awards”. According to the Mayor, Kim Le Cerf, if Australians were better educated they would “feel ashamed to be celebrating on January 26”. It has been proposed that the alternative celebrations be held on 25th January instead of the 26th, some others have suggested 1 January.

Mayor Kim Le Cerf

I have previously written about Australia Day, including mentioning that when Captain Cook explored Botany Bay in 1770, his party shot an indigenous male for throwing stones at them, thereby setting the tenor of relations for the next 247 years. See:

Like Voltaire, I respect the right of others to hold an opinion different to mine, but what I find crazy is this concept of an alternative to Australia Day. In Orwell’s book 1984, Big Brother removed words from the language and removed historical accounts about events, thereby removing the thing itself. Take away the word “democracy” and all references to it, and democracy ceases to exist, so the theory goes. But is also puts me In mind of something Abraham Lincoln once said:

"How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg."

Story link:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Thought for the Day

Readers Write: Rio Milk Bar, Flour Sack Prints and Marilyn Monroe

Below is an email received from Kerrie B in respect of my comments abou the Rio Milk Bar in Summer Hill, which had closed after the proprietor, George Poulos, died. George had milk barred for 63 of hisb 92 years.
Hi Otto 
The Rio Milk Bar opened last week as a small bar. Apart from cocktails, wine and beer they serve Greek food. The Rio bar was the coolest place to be seen during the 50's when I was growing up in Summer Hill. Johnny O'Keefe was known to frequent the place on his way home from gigs. They were one of the first places to have a juke box. 
Thanks, Kerrie

George Poulos with son Nick, 2014

The Rio as it is now.

Here is a link about the current use:

From Tobye P about flour producers during the Great Depression using coloured material for flour sacks after they found that families in financial distress were using the cotton sacks to make clothes:
Wow Otto, I had no idea about the flour sacks! That is so wonderful that the flour producers noticed and made a real difference in those people’s lives. And the clothes all look good too!  
We are blessed in so many ways today-thanks for pointing that out. 
Regards, Tobye 
A PS from Tobye:
And that construction worker must be insane! 
Tobye is referring to the construction worker photographed standing on a very tall metal post with ho safety harness.

Thanks, Tobye.

Some additional information about the flour sacks made of cloured material:
  • Prints were varied and made to suit a variety of possible uses:

  • There were prints for kids:

  • The sacks had instructions on how to wash out the logos and printing:
  • There were tutorials on how to sew the sacks into clothing and newspapers had instruction articles:
  • Some sacks came with instructions:
  • As the popularity of flour sack clothing grew, booklets with sewing ideas for "cotton bags" were distributed:
  • Some women used their sewing skills to bring in extra cash by sewing dresses and other items for friends and neighbours:
  • When the clothing finally wore out, it would be cut up and made into something else, like a quilt:
  • The onset of World War II resulted in cotton being rationed to make uniforms for soldiers. People were more than willing to give up the fabric in order to support the war effort:
  • From then on, flour was packaged in paper bags — and it's been that way ever since.

By the way:

Remember how in the Chuck Berry song Johnny B Goode lived in a cabin made of earth and wood and carried his guitar in a gunny sack? 

A gunny sack has nothing to do with guns, they are sacks made from burlap, aka hessian. The name "gunny" derives from the word goni ("thread, fibre"), a Tulu (Indian) word. 

Reusable gunny sacks, typically holding about 45 kg, were traditionally, and to some extent still are, used for transporting grains, potatoes and other agricultural products. Today they are also sometimes used as sandbags for erosion control and as barriers to flooding. Gunny sacks are also popular in the traditional children's game of sack racing.

Which is all by way of introduction to a story and photographs of Marilyn Monroe wearing a gunny sack.

The story is that Marilyn was once chastised by a female newspaper columnist for wearing a low-cut red dress to a party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. According to Marilyn, the columnist called her cheap and vulgar. Not stopping there, the writer then suggested that the actress would look better in a potato sack. So, Twentieth Century Fox decided to capitalize on the story by shooting some publicity stills of Marilyn in a form fitting burlap potato sack just to prove she would look sexy in anything. The photos were published in newspapers throughout the country.

Here are the pics: