Sunday, October 26, 2014


If you go down to the Quay today, you’re in for a big surprise . . . cos today is the last day of the fourth Urban Chalk Art Festival in Sydney. There are a lot of Festival activities including numerous chalk art works on the footpaths and bitumen, but the main feature is a giant chalk mural on the forecourt of Customs House. The mural has been created over the last week and you can now have your photo taken with it or on it.

The mural is called Wasting Time and is the biggest 3D artwork created in Australia. It is a collaboration between two celebrated chalk artists:

· Melbourne-based Jenny McCracken, who began her 3D career 25 years ago, starting with a small piece on a pavement near St James Station in Sydney. The response from the public was so enthusiastic she was hooked, and now travels the world creating her award-winning, ephemeral works. 

· Netherlands born and based Leon Keer, who was making a living out of creating large-scale commercial murals, mainly using acrylic paint, when he came across anamorphic street art. Since picking up chalk in 2008, his fame has spread, via the internet and social media, for his inventive designs including some extraordinary work for Legoland in Germany. 

Some comments:

· A team of eight artists, including McCracken and Keer, have worked on the mural.

· A special sealer was put down first to make it easier to apply the chalk and to remove it later. 

· The design was sketched on in charcoal, then the chalk applied in liquid form.

· The festival began in 2005 decorating the Pyrmont Bridge.

· Previous editions of the Chalk Urban Art Festival have been held on Pyrmont Bridge, at Darling Harbour and in Parramatta. 

Some images:

Some of the other chalk art

Starting the big one

Some other Jenny McCracken works:

To obtain this effect with perspective, it must be created as ...

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Texts from the Beyond

‘In case you missed it’ Department:

Remember The Twilight Zone?

A news item during the week reminded me of a TZ episode, Night Call. More about the news item later.

Those old enough to remember will recall that each TZ episode opened with a Rod Serling narration.  This is the narration for Night Call:

Miss Elva Keene lives alone on the outskirts of London Flats, a tiny rural community in Maine. Up until now, the pattern of Miss Keene's existence has been that of lying in her bed or sitting in her wheelchair, reading books, listening to a radio, eating, napping, taking medication - and waiting for something different to happen. Miss Keene doesn't know it yet, but her period of waiting has just ended, for something different is about to happen to her, has in fact already begun to happen, via two most unaccountable telephone calls in the middle of a stormy night, telephone calls routed directly through - the Twilight Zone.

The storyline of the episode is that an elderly woman, Elva Keene, receives strange anonymous phone calls in the middle of a stormy night. During the first calls she hears only static. Later she hears a man moaning and she repeatedly demands to know who is calling. Finally he says "Hello? Where are you? I want to talk to you." Elva, terrified, screams at the man to leave her alone.

The phone company traces the cause to a telephone line that has fallen in a cemetery.

Elva and her housekeeper visit the cemetery where she finds that the line is resting on the grave of her long-deceased fiancé, Brian Douglas. Elva says that she always insisted on having her own way, and Brian always did what she said. A week before they were to be married, she insisted on driving and lost control of the car. The accident killed Brian and crippled her.

Now that she can talk to him again she won't have to be alone. At home she picks up the phone and calls out to Brian, pleading with him to answer. He replies that she told him to leave her alone and that he always does what she says. Then the line goes dead, leaving Elva alone and crying in her bed.

Closing narration:

According to the Bible, God created the Heavens and the Earth. It is man's prerogative - and woman's - to create their own particular and private Hell. Case in point, Miss Elva Keene, who in every sense has made her own bed and now must lie in it, sadder, but wiser, by dint of a rather painful lesson in responsibility, transmitted from the Twilight Zone.

See the full episode by clicking on:

The Rod Serling narration is at about 2.20.

According to, that episode was based on stories of people who have insisted on being buried with bells and other alarms in case of being interred alive, an occurrence more common in the Middle Ages. Even today there have been instances of people being buried with laptops and telephones.

Which brings us to the news item . . .

Back in June 2011 one Lesley Emerson (above), 59, died of bowel cancer in the UK. When she was buried, granddaughter Sherri Emerson put her grandmother’s mobile phone into the coffin with her.  She did this, she explained later, because during her life Gran had enjoyed texting family members. 

After the funeral and as the years passed, Sherri and other family members would regularly send text messages to her as a means of coping with the loss and their feelings of missing her. “We know that nan wasn’t ever going to reply to our texts. It was just something we did as a comfort for ourselves, because she loved to text” said Sherri. They even paid the phone company to keep the number.

In another article Sherri elaborated on the texting: 

“Nan got bowel cancer and died very quickly, she was only diagnosed in October 2010 and died the following June. It came so suddenly and none of us could quite get our heads around what had happened.  It helped to text her, that was the way we were always in touch every day when she was alive. I texted her at least once a week for three years.”

Recently Sherri sent Nan a message telling her about family life.

A message came back from Nan’s number: "I'm watching over you, and it's all going to get better. Just push through."

Sherri:  “ ...last week I suddenly got a reply. I stared at my phone and the message was written as though it was from her, it was so strange, I went cold and shaky.”

Sherri, petrified, asked the mystery texter who he or she was. 

At that point, had it been me, I would have had visions of skeletal grandma, her bony decomposed fingers texting on the phone left with her in the coffin. The Resurrection?  Revelation 20:13:  "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds."

Or a zombie apocalypse where the dead are rising, including grannies. 

Sherri's imagination also went into overdrive:

“When the reply came through at lunchtime the following day I felt sick. Crazy stuff was flashing through my mind like ‘Is she still alive?’  Then I started getting horrible visions that someone might have dug up her grave and taken her phone, my mind was full of all sorts of really unpleasant possibilities.”

In response to her enquiry as to who had sent the message, Sherri received a reply: “A disturbing vegetarian.”

It turns out that the company had reallocated the number.

Sherri with her uncle Graham

Sheri Emerson’s uncle, Graham Emerson, called the number and spoke to a man who said he’d used the phone for several weeks. He said he responded to Sheri Emerson’s texts because he thought they were a hoax.

The phone company advised that it is trying to retrieve the number.

As for Sherri, "For me it's too late, that special way I had of feeling I was in touch with her is gone forever. I couldn't bear to go to her grave - she was like a mother to me, we had a special bond."

The dangers associated with text messages aren't confined to texting while driving. As Sherri Emerson discovered, messages sent to dead people sometimes receive replies when transmission takes place in . . . the Twilight Zone.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Funny Friday

(Caution - risque language below)

The above image was sent to me by Byter Giovanni. It shows his latest tatt and it was done in China. He accompanied the message with the comment that it took 3 hours, that it hurt big time and that in Oz the tattooists won’t do neck tatts unless you are already 75% inked.  I haven't heard of that as a hard and fast rule and I believe it may be a shop policy of some tattooists that G struck.

Here is a  pic of G getting the work done:

So that's how Giovanni rolls, with carnivorous roses.

That's how I roll . . .

An alternative expression is "That's how I roll, motherfuckers..."

Some definitions from the Urban Dictionary:

That's how I roll: 
That is how I like to do things. I know I'm always wearing a bathrobe but that's how I roll.

Whenever you give a reason to an answer.
Jane: Can I have some chips? Johnny: No! Jane: Why? Johhny: Cause that’s how I roll

Popularized by Jack Black in his "Anchorman" cameo after he punts Baxter off the bridge.
It means "that's how I do things, if you don't like it, too bad. I am an independent person and I scoff at your preconceived notions of society."
Ron Burgundy: "Wait, what are you doing?!" (Jack Black punts Baxter, Ron's dog, off the bridge) Jack: "That’s how I roll"

Some "That's how I roll" items for Funny Friday:

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I pushed Oedipus down a hill.

That's just how I roll motherfuckers.

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The wife just said, "Why do you always show me disapproval using facial expressions?" 

"That's how, eye-roll." I replied

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A combination of rotation and translation of an object with respect to a surface, such that the two are in contact with each other without sliding. 

That's just how I roll.

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I'm an obese, quadruple amputee. 

That's just how I roll.

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and one that was in Bytes only a few weeks ago:

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Not everyone will find the above items funny, although I do, but that's how I roll . . . for those who did not like them, a couple of more traditional humour items:

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Two elderly Jewish ladies meet on a street corner. 

"So Sadie, how's by you I haven't seen you in years?" 

"Marvelous, Rivkah, things couldn't be better! My son Harold is an Accountant making lots of money. My daughter Cynthia married a rich man, and both of my children have given me beautiful grandchildren and so much naches...but enough about my what's by you and your family?"
"Oy Sadie, don't ask! Me, I have such tsores!" 

"Nu Rivkah, I'm so sorry to hear that; but what kind of tsores?"
"It's my son Arnold. He revealed to us that he's a faygeleh." 

"Oy, a faygeleh, what a disaster!" 

"I know, but we do have a consolation..." 

"Vos for a consolation with a faygeleh?" 

"Well, he's going with such a nice Jewish boy who's going to be a doctor!" 

Naches: pride or pleasure, especially at the achievements of one's children. 
Tsores: problems, difficulties 
Nu: So! Or Well! 
Faygeleh: male homosexual 

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Joe was having an affair with his secretary. One day, their passions overcame them and they took off for her house, where they made passionate love all afternoon. Exhausted from the wild sex, they fell asleep, awaking around eight p.m. 

As Joe threw on his clothes, he told his secretary to take his shoes outside and rub them through the grass and dirt. Mystified, she nonetheless complied. He slipped into his shoes and drove home. 

"Where have you been?" demanded his wife when he entered the house. 

"Darling," replied Joe, "I can't lie to you. I've been having an affair with my secretary and we've been having sex all afternoon. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until eight o'clock." 

His wife glanced down at his shoes and said, "You lying bastard! You've been playing golf! 

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A husband and wife attend a small service at the local church one Sunday morning. The man was very moved by the preacher's sermon, so he stopped to shake the preacher's hand. Reverend, that was the best damn sermon I ever did hear!" The Reverend replied, "Oh! Why, thank you sir, but please, I'd appreciate it if you didn't use profanity in the Lord's house."

"I'm sorry Reverend, but I can't help myself... it was such a damn good sermon!" The Reverend replied, "Sir, please, I cannot have you behaving this way in Church!" "Okay Reverend, but I just wanted you to know that I thought it was so damn good, that I put $5,000 in the collection plate." The Reverend's eyes opened wide as he remarked, "No Shit!"

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Corn Corner:


Square: 'Why do you only have one round edge?'
Circle: 'That's how I roll.'


Q: What does a Jewish pirate say?
A: Ahoy vey!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Photos from the Western Front, Part 2

(Click on the photographs to enlarge further).

Battlefield in the Marne between Souain and Perthes, 1915. 

Soldiers in trenches during write letters home. Life in the trenches was summed up by the phrase which later became well-known: "Months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror." 

At Cambrai, German soldiers load a captured British Mark I tank onto a railroad, in November of 1917. Tanks were first used in battle during World War I, in September of 1916, when 49 British Mark I tanks were sent in during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. 

British soldiers on Vimy Ridge, 1917. British and Canadian forces pushed through German defenses at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April of 1917, advancing as far as six miles in three days, retaking high ground and the town of Thelus, at the cost of nearly 4,000 dead. 

At a height of 150 meters above the fighting line, a French photographer was able to capture a photograph of French troops on the Somme Front, launching an attack on the Germans, ca. 1916. The smoke may have been deployed intentionally, as a screening device to mask the advance. 

Canadian soldiers tend to a fallen German on the battlefield at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917. 
Bodies of allied soldiers strewn about a bombed landscape in "No Man's Land" in front of the Canadian lines at Courcelette in 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. 

An explosion near trenches dug into the grounds of Fort de la Pompelle, near Reims, France. 

French soldiers wearing gas masks in a trench, 1917. gas mask technology varied widely during the war, eventually developing into an effective defence, limiting the value of gas attacks in later years. 

French soldiers make a gas and flame attack on German trenches in Flanders, Belgium, on January 1, 1917. Both sides used different gases as weapons during the war, both asphyxiants and irritants, often to devastating effect. 

French soldier in gas mask, 1916.

Gassed patients are treated at the 326th Field Hospital near Royaumeix, France, on August 8, 1918. The hospital was not large enough to accommodate the large number of patients. 

British soldiers and Highlanders with German prisoners walk past war ruins and a dead horse, after the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, part of the Third Battle of Ypres in September of 1917. The sign near the railroad tracks reads (possibly): "No Trains. Lorries for Walking Wounded at Chateau [Potijze?]". 

A horse is restrained while it is attended to at a veterinary hospital in 1916. 

A gigantic shell crater, 75 yards in circumference, Ypres, Belgium, October 1917. 

British MkIV "Bear" tank, abandoned after battle near Inverness Copse, on August 22 , 1917. 

Cleaning up German trenches at St. Pierre Divion. In the foreground a group of British soldiers are sorting through equipment abandoned in the trenches by the Germans when St Pierre Divion was captured. One soldier has three rifles slung on his shoulder, another has two. Others are looking at machine gun ammunition. The probable photographer, John Warwick Brooke, has achieved considerable depth of field as many other soldiers can be seen in the background far along the trenches. 

Bringing Canadian wounded to the Field Dressing Station, Vimy Ridge in April of 1917. German prisoners assist in pushing the rail car. 

On the British front, Christmas Dinner, 1916, in a shell hole beside a grave. 

A mine tunnel is dug under the German lines on the Vosges front, on October 19, 1916. The sappers worked at a depth of about 17 meters, until they reached a spot below enemy positions, when large explosives would be placed and later detonated, destroying anything above. 

Soldier's comrades watch him as he sleeps, near Thievpal, France. Soldiers are standing in a very deep, narrow trench, the walls of which are entirely lined with sandbags. At the far end of the trench a line of soldiers are squashed up looking over each others' shoulders at the sleeping man. 

Men wounded in the Ypres battle of September 20th, 1917. Walking along the Menin road, to be taken to the clearing station. German prisoners are seen assisting at stretcher bearing.

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