Sunday, December 17, 2017

Thought for the Day

Still more monthlies

Second Sunday in December
Children's Day was begun in 1856 by Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts: Dr. Leonard held a special service dedicated to, and for the children. And what did Dr Leonard name this day dedicated to children?  Rose Day.  But then they changed it, to . . . Flower Sunday.  Later it became Children's Day.
Children's Day was first officially declared a national holiday by the Republic of Turkey in 1929.
There are numerous Children’s Day dates thoughout the world for different countries.
International Children's Day is celebrated every year in the second Sunday in December. This is a joint initiative between UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. After the `World Conference for the Well Being of Children', held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925, governments around the world decided to specify a day as Children's Day to draw attention to children's issues.


December 9
The day is self-explanatory.  Go buy an apple turnover, a flaky pastry pie a cinnamon whirl, a vanilla slice, profiteroles, strudel, Danish pastries, pies of all fillings, baklava, quiche, eclairs, or a Cornish pasty.
The first ever pastries date way back into ancient times when the likes of the ancient Romans and Greeks made filo-style pastries as meals and treats. The main ingredients in hot countries were flour, oil, and honey, which would not melt easily in the heat of the day. We still have these kinds of treats these days with the Turkish favorite Baklava, a sweet pastry made from filo-type pastry, nuts, and lashings of honey.
In medieval times, things got a bit more serious when pastry chefs came on the scene, using shortening and butter to make a thicker, more robust pastry that we see frequently in pies. Pastry became quite a serious business, with demand for pies and sweets always high amongst royalty and peasants alike. Throughout the years, plenty of pastry types have emerged; choux, Danish, phyllo (which is more commonly known as ‘filo’ pastry), and on the back of that, hundreds of delicious pastry-based treats!

December 10
The United Nations General Assembly created the first Human Rights Day on December 10, 1948.
Human Rights Day, created by the United Nations, promotes awareness of the importance of Human Rights issues around the world. On this date in 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Varying dates:  December 12 in 2017
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, (also called Chanuka, Hannukah and Hannakuh) celebrates victory from Greek religious persecution. The Jewish victory was led by the Macabees in the year 167 B.C. Upon returning to the temple to rededicate it and relight the Menorah, the Macabees found only one small flask of oil, enough to light the Menorah for just one day. However, the flask of oil lasted lasted eight days, Hence the celebration lasts eight days. This is also why it is called the Festival of Lights.
Hannakah, or Chanukah, is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.
At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, we light just one flame. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled.
Special blessings are recited, often to a traditional melody, before the menorah is lit, and traditional songs are sung afterward.
A menorah is lit in every household (or even by each individual within the household) and placed in a doorway or window. The menorah is also lit in synagogues and other public places. In recent years, thousands of jumbo menorahs have cropped up in front of city halls and legislative buildings, and in malls and parks all over the world.

December 13
If you don’t play the violin, then celebrate it by listening to violin, whether it be blue grass, Andres Rieu, Alison Krauss or some Irish fiddling.

Niccolò Paganini (1782 – 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique.  Paganini’s great skill as a violinist was helped by the fact that he had unusually long and flexible fingers in addition to great musicality.   He practised 15 hours per day. 

On one occasion, as he was playing a serenade, one after the other, three of the four strings on the violin broke.  He simply finished the serenade playing all notes on the one remaining string!  Not as amazing as it sounds, however.  Paganini is known to have sabotaged his strings so that they would sometimes break, letting him make a big ado about continuing on one string, something he was accomplished at.  Click on the following link to hear his composition Variations on One String:

December 14
Monkey Day was created and popularized by artists Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin in the year 2000 to spread awareness for the animals, and to show love and care for them. It is celebrated worldwide and often known as World Monkey Day.
Monkey Day is an unofficial international holiday celebrated on December 14. The holiday celebrates monkeys and "all things simian", including other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Thought for the Day

Bygone Sydney

The Devonshire Street Cemetery was located between Eddy Avenue and Elizabeth Street, and between Chalmers and Devonshire Streets, at Brickfield Hill, in Sydney, Australia. It was consecrated in 1820. By 1860, the cemetery was full, and it was closed in 1867. In 1901, the cemetery was resumed to allow for the development of Central railway station, Sydney and representatives of deceased persons buried in the Devonshire Street cemetery were given two months to arrange for exhumation and removal of remains from the cemetery. All reasonable costs were borne by the Government of New South Wales.

Stonemasons at work carving gargoyles during the construction of Sydney University in 1858

Children with billycarts filled with firewood at the Woolloomooloo wharf during the Great Depression, Sydney, 1 September 1932.

Btw, why are they called billy carts? 
Billy carts date back to the late 19th century and were originally made to be pulled by a ‘billy’ goat. When pedal and motor power became available motorised carts, and pedal powered buggies, took over the jobs that were once done by the billy cart, which thereafter became play toys for children. The term ‘go cart’ is short for goat carts which were once pulled by goats, but now refer to a motorised cart.

Tram, Watsons Bay, 1954

Cremorne ferry terminal, Kanangra in foreground, 'Aquitania" just following "Queen Mary" around Bradleys Head, bound for the Middle East.

The City of Sydney Mobile Library in 1957.It was discontinued in 1991.

Vehicle traffic passing through King's Cross, Sydney, 16 December 1937. 80 years ago to the day.

Children playing in Frog Hollow, Surry Hills, Sydney 1949

By 1901 Surry Hills was an established suburb on the fringe of the city. Packed tight with narrow terraces and weatherboard shacks, many of the houses were thrown together by speculators, with ventilation usually poor and rooms damp. Drainage and sewerage fell short due to overcrowding. Surry Hills became a slum associated with petty crime, alcohol, gambling and domestic violence. Between 1895 and 1904 Surry Hills’ Frog Hollow was known as ‘one of the most depraved areas of Sydney’. It was about 9 metres below the surrounding streets and approachable from three directions only by steep flights of stone steps. In this area bounded by Anne, Albion, Riley and Little Riley Streets the houses were literally piled on top of each other. Police claimed that this enclave had bred some of the most ‘desperate and dangerous criminals’ they had encountered. The City Council’s slum clearance came to Frog Hollow, with the first houses at 295-315 Riley Street being demolished in 1925. Part of the site was later used as a council depot, and part as a park named Hills Reserve after Pat Hills, alderman in 1948-56, Lord Mayor in 1953-56 and NSW MP from 1954 to 1988.

Frog Hollow 1949 and 2014

Frog Hollow

Workers cleaning the Sydney Town Hall clock in 1937.

McElhone Place in Surry Hills, one of the slums of Sydney 1930s

Fishing in Victoria Park in Sydney in the 1930's, Sydney University in the background

Kate Leigh, Sydney razor-gang criminal, does Christmas Charity

Bridge Street, Sydney in 1870 and 2009

Friday, December 15, 2017

Thought for the Day

Funny Friday

As we get closer to Christmas and as things get busier, is it just me who thinks hang in there, wait until Christmas, then you can relax, sleep, take it easy . . . ?

For those who also feel that way, here is an opportunity to take a few minutes off, have a coffee and read some funnies.

It's a mixed bag today, inclduing some thought provokers, including about anti-vaxxers and the cartoons of Bizarro that sometimes need some pondering.

Also, a cheerio to my father in law, Noel, who is now out of hospital after surgery. Welcome back, cobber. Noel and I have a pact, that we will do each other's eulogy, depending on who goes first. He told my wife, Kate, after I returned home from hospital when I had the bout with septicaemia (spelling?): "I'll put the eulogy back in the drawer, then." Love ya, Noel.

One final word on the gay marriage issue and the objections on religious grounds . . .

Homosexuality is wrong because it is unnatural. Now, let’s learn about a man born of virgin birth, that healed lepers and blind people with his hands, walked on water, turned water into wine, and how all the wrong in the world happened because a rib ate an apple because a talking snake told her to.

Two salesmen were going door to door, and knocked on the door of a woman who was not happy to see them. She told them in no uncertain terms that she did not want to hear their offer and slammed the door in their faces. To her surprise, however, the door did not close and, in fact, bounced back open. She tried again, really put her back into it, and slammed the door again with the same result - the door bounced back open. Convinced these rude salesmen were sticking their foot in the door, she reared back to give it a slam that would teach them a lesson, when one of the men said: "Ma'am, before you do that again, you need to move your cat."

A child asked his father, "How were people born?" So his father said, "Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on." The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, "We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now." The child ran back to his father and said, "You lied to me!" His father replied, "No, your mother was talking about her side of the family."

Teacher: "If I gave you 2 cats and another 2 cats and another 2, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Seven."
Teacher: "No, listen carefully... If I gave you two cats, and another two cats and another two, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Seven."
Teacher: "Let me put it to you differently. If I gave you two apples, and another two apples and another two, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Six."
Teacher: "Good. Now if I gave you two cats, and another two cats and another two, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Seven!"
Teacher: "Johnny, where in the heck do you get seven from?!"
Johnny: "Because I've already got a cat!"

An American automobile company and a Japanese auto company decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day, they were as ready as they could be.

The Japanese team won by a mile.

Afterwards, the American team became discouraged by the loss and their morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A Continuous Measurable Improvement Team of "Executives" was set up to investigate the problem and to recommend appropriate corrective action.

Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, whereas the American team had 1 person rowing and 8 people steering. The American Corporate Steering Committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management structure.

After some time and billions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded that "too many people were steering and not enough rowing." To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the management structure was changed to "4 Steering Managers, 3 Area Steering Managers, and 1 Staff Steering Manager" and a new performance system for the person rowing the boat to give more incentive to work harder and become a six sigma performer. "We must give him empowerment and enrichment." That ought to do it.

The next year the Japanese team won by two miles.

The American Corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, sold all of the paddles, cancelled all capital investments for new equipment, halted development of a new canoe, awarded high performance awards to the consulting firm, and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.

I love the cartoons of Bizarro, here are some . . . 

According to Dan Piraro, who has drawn the Bizarro cartoons every day for 32 years, the following cartoon drew a lotof response, the most ever to a cartoon, mostly hate mail from anti-vaxxers.  Not all tghe response was negative, according to Piraro:  “Many doctors and other people in and around the healthcare world responded very positively and asked if they could use the cartoon in their efforts to inform the public. I always love it when my cartoons get used as teaching tools.”

Corn Corner:

Teacher: "Kids, what does the chicken give you?"
Student: "Meat!"
Teacher: "Very good! Now what does the pig give you?"
Student: "Bacon!"
Teacher: "Great! And what does the cow give you?"
Student: "Homework!"

Q: What did the green grape say to the purple grape? 

A: "Breathe, damn it, breathe!"

Q: Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocaine during a root canal? 

A: He wanted to transcend dental medication.

Q: What's the difference between deer nuts and beer nuts? 

A: Beer nuts are $1.50 and deer nuts are under a buck.