Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thought for the day

Random Facts and Trivia


"Louie Louie" is an American rhythm and blues song written by Richard Berry in 1955 and best known for the 1963 hit version by The Kingsmen. It has become a standard in pop and rock, with hundreds of versions recorded by different artists.  The song is about a lovesick sailor’s lament to a bartender named Louie. Hear it by clicking on:

At the time of the 1963 release, there was a myth, promoted by teenagers to put the wind up their parents, that if the 45rpm record was played at 33 1/3, it revealed dirty lyrics.  There are several aspects of the recording that make interpretation difficult: 
·       -  the lyrics are in pidgin English
·       -  lead singer Jack Ely was singing with a strained voice
·       -  he was singing with braces on his teeth
·      -  the boom microphone was strung up too high so that Ely had to stand on his toes
·       -  what was intended as an instrumental was turned into a singing version at the last moment
·       -  only one take was made, what the band thought was a rehearsal run through.

In 1964 an outraged parent wrote to Robert Kennedy, then the Attorney General of the United States, alleging that the lyrics of "Louie Louie" were obscene. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the complaint. In June 1965, the FBI laboratory obtained a copy of the Kingsmen recording and, after four months of investigation, concluded that it could not be interpreted, that it was "unintelligible at any speed," and therefore the Bureau could not find that the recording was obscene.

The lyrics:

Louie Louie, oh no, you take me where ya gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby

Louie Louie, oh baby, take me where ya gotta go

A fine little girl, she waits for me

Me catch the ship across the sea
Me sailed the ship all alone
Me never think I'll make it home

Louie Louie, oh no no no, me gotta go, oh no

Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go

Three nights and days I sailed the sea

Me think of girl constantly
On the ship, I dream she there
I smell the rose in her hair

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby

Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go
Okay, let's give it to 'em right now

Me see
Me see Jamaica, the moon above

It won't be long me see me love
Me take her in my arms and then
I tell her I'll never leave again

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby

Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go
I said me gotta go now
Let's hustle on out of here
Let's go


John Billington and his family travelled from England to America aboard the Mayflower. Even aboard the Mayflower Billington caused problems, forcing the capatin at one stage to order him to be bound.  The family came to be known as troublemakers, which continued after settling in the New World.  Ten years later Billington ended up in a dispute with his neighbour, Jiohn Newcommen, and shot him dead.  He was tried, convicted, sentenced to death and hanged.  This was by being dragged aloft and strangled, the drop did not happen until 200 years later.  Billington has the dubious distinction of being America’s first murderer and the first first man hanged.


Long before rap battles (see M & M’s biopic 8 Mile) there was “flyting”, a contest consisting of the exchange of insults, often conducted in verse, between two parties. It was practised mainly between the 5th and 16th centuries.  The exchanges would become extremely provocative, often involving accusations of cowardice or sexual perversion. 


Konrad Lorenz (1903 – 1989), animal and human behaviourist, proposed the concept of Kindchenschema, a set of facial and body features, that make a creature appear "cute" and activate ("release") in others the motivation to care for it.   In other words, cuteness generates affection and caring.

"Humans feel affection for animals with juvenile features: large eyes, bulging craniums, retreating chins (left column). Small-eyed, long-snouted animals (right column) do not elicit the same response." —Konrad Lorenz


Boring, a town in Oregon, is named after William Harrison Boring, a Union soldier and pioneer whose family first settled the area in 1856.  The town often makes puns based on its name. Boring's town motto is "The most exciting place to live" and it has taken Dull, Scotland as its sister city, followed by a grouping with with Bland, New South Wales, Australia.  Bland Shire is named after Dr. William Bland, who was sent to Australia in 1814 as a convict. He died in 1868.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Anecdotes for the Day

Some Irish anecdotes  . . .

A switchboard operator at a small hotel in Co. Galway was making her morning alarm calls. At six o'clock she rang room 206, but, as a sleepy voice answered, she glanced at her list again and saw that the call for room 206 was down for eight o'clock. She said as sweetly as she could, "Good morning, Sir! You have two more hours to sleep."

 In a literature class in Dublin some years back, students were given an assignment to write a short story involving all the important literary ingredients — Nobility, Emotion, Sex, Religion and Mystery. The winner was:"My God!’ cried the Duchess. ‘I’m pregnant. Who did it?"

Eileen Finney was so enamored of Sean O'Faolaín's literary works that she wrote him a letter: "I hear that your writing yields you a retail price of $1.00 per word. I enclose $1.00, for which please send me a sample." Much amused, the witty O'Faolaín kept the dollar and sent along one word: "Thanks." But O'Faolaín had no monopoly on Irish wit. Shortly afterward, he received another letter from Miss Finney: "Sold the 'Thanks' anecdote for $2.00. Enclosed please find 75 cents in stamps, being half the profit on the transaction, less postage and handling."

An American tourist was visiting the Ulster Museum in Belfast and asked the age of a particular fossil. The attendant told him it was 3 million years and 9 months old. "How on earth can they be so accurate?" asked the visitor. The attendant replied "Well sir, when I started work here they told me it was 3 million years old, and I'm here 9 months".

Julio Iglesias was being interviewed by British TV host Anne Diamond when he used the word 'manyana'. Diamond asked him to explain what it meant. He said that the term means "maybe the job will be done to-morrow, maybe the next day, maybe the day after that. Perhaps next week, next month, next year. Who cares?" The host turned to Irishman Shay Brennan who was also on the show and asked him if there was an equivalent term in Irish. "No. In Ireland we don't have a word to describe that degree of urgency", replied Brennan.

St Patrick's Day


I do not understand why otherwise normal, sane people suddenly start talking in Irish accents on a certain day each year, drink Guinness and Irish whisky and start wearing green. Sure to be sure, that day is St Patrick’s Day, when both Irish and non-Irish alike go a bit gaga. A bit like Melbourne Cup day when people who know nothing about horses and racing, and who couldn’t care less about them for the rest of the year, suddenly start organising sweeps and assessing the field for a winner. Still, they’re harmless bits of fun and any excuse for a pissup, at least for some. 

So here is some St Patrick’s Day trivia . . 

St Patrick's Day is a global celebration of Irish culture on or around March 17. It particularly remembers St Patrick, one of Ireland's patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland during the fifth century. 


Saint Patrick was not Irish. 
  • Born in Great Britain, when he was 16 he was kidnapped by pirates and held in captivity in Ireland for six years. During this time he found religion, which helped him survive and eventually escape. 
  • He returned to Ireland a few years later as a Christian missionary. 

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th each year because St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 AD. 

The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade. . .
  • Boston is arguably the most Irish city in the US. 
  • According to legend, the earliest celebration of the holiday in America took place in Boston in 1737, when colonists of Irish descent marked the event with a modest parade. Thereafter parades continued to be held. 
  • New Yorkers also claim the honour of the first St Patrick’s Day parade . . .
  • It is said that on March 17, 1762, 14 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Irish soldiers serving in the British army marched to honor the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, their country’s patron saint. With Irish immigrants flocking to the United States, and in large numbers to New York, in the mid-19th century, the parade became an annual tradition and spread elsewhere in the country. 
  • In 1891 in Boston, the Ancient Order of Hibernians adopted the familiar parade route, the march up Fifth Avenue, which it still follows today. And other practices, such as the banning of wagons and floats, also became standard. The parade as it exists today is essentially the same as it would have been in the 1890s, with many thousands of people marching, accompanied by bagpipe bands as well as brass bands. 
  • The Boston parade is listed as the second largest parade in the country, drawing between 600,000 and 1 million people each year. 

John & Jacqueline Kennedy, Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade 1958 

Chicago dyes its river green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. 

As part of a more than fifty-year-old Chicago tradition, the Chicago River is dyed green in observance of St. Patrick's Day. The tradition of dyeing the river green arose by accident when plumbers used fluorescein dye to trace sources of illegal pollution discharges. The dyeing of the river is still sponsored by the local plumbers union. The United States Environmental Protection Agency outlawed the use of fluorescein for this purpose, since it was shown to be harmful to the river. The parade committee has since switched to a mix involving powdered vegetable dye. 

In 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama, a Chicago native, requested that the White House fountains be dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. 


Leprechauns are actually fairies/shoemakers in Irish folklore. 

A leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief. They are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom. Leprechaun-like creatures rarely appear in Irish mythology and only became prominent in later folklore. Modern depictions of leprechauns are largely based on derogatory 19th-century caricatures and stereotypes of the Irish. 

If you’ve never seen it, watch Darby O’Gill and the Little People, featuring a very young Sean Connery. 


The shamrock’s three leaves are meant to represent the Holy Trinity. 

The national symbol for Saint Patrick’s Day is a three-leaf shamrock. According to legend, Saint Patrick used shamrocks to teach children about the Holy Trinity. 


St Patrick did not really drive the snakes out of Ireland. 

Although legend says that he did, there were actually no snakes in Ireland. The snake reference is considered a metaphorical explanation for St. Patrick driving evil and paganism out of Ireland. 


The original colour for St Patrick’s Day was blue. 

The Order of St. Patrick, established in 1783, selected blue as its colour because dark green was already taken. Green became popular with the 1798 Irish Rebellion when wearing a clover on a lapel became a sign. 

Badge of the Order of St. Patrick 

The Celtic harp is a national symbol of Ireland, making it the only country to have a musical instrument as a national symbol. 


Criticism . . .

In recent decades, St Patrick's Day celebrations have been criticised, particularly for their association with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Some argue that the festivities have become too commercialised.  St Patrick's Day celebrations have also been criticised for fostering demeaning stereotypes of Ireland and Irish people. An example is the wearing of 'leprechaun outfits', which are based on derogatory 19th century caricatures of the Irish.  In the run up to St Patrick's Day 2014, the Ancient Order of Hibernians successfully campaigned to stop major American retailers from selling novelty merchandise that promoted negative Irish stereotypes.

Some have described St Patrick's Day celebrations outside Ireland as displays of "Plastic Paddyness"; where foreigners appropriate and misrepresent Irish culture, claim Irish identity, and enact Irish stereotypes.

LGBT groups in the US were banned from marching in St. Patrick's Day parades in New York City and Boston, resulting in the landmark Supreme Court decision of Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston*. In New York City, the ban was lifted in 2014, but LGBT groups still find that barriers to participation exist. In Boston, the ban on LGBT group participation was lifted in 2015.

* The Court ruled that private organisations, even if they were planning on and had permits for a public demonstration, were permitted to exclude groups if those groups presented a message contrary to the one the organizing group wanted to convey. Addressing the specific issues of the case, the Court found that private citizens organizing a public demonstration may not be compelled by the state to include groups who impart a message the organizers do not want to be presented by their demonstration, even if the intent of the state was to prevent discrimination.

Rosary Rally to Defend the Faith at NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade

Friday, March 16, 2018

Quote for the Day

Funny Friday

The death of Stephen Hawking revealed an amusing anecdote about him. 

A clip from 2010 documentary Into the Universe shows Hawking waiting for invited people to show up at his party. 

According to an article yesterday: 
“I like simple experiments ... and champagne,” says a voiceover as the camera pans over plates of hors d’oeuvres and flutes of Krug. “So I’ve combined two of my favourite things to see if time travel from the future to the past is possible. I’m throwing a party. A welcome reception for future time travellers.”

The scientist is seen sitting in his wheelchair alone in a sumptuous, brightly lit room at the University of Cambridge, decorated with balloons and a large sign that reads: “Welcome time travellers.”

However, the cosmologist explains, “there’s a twist”. He didn’t send the invitation out until after the party.

“You are cordially invited to a reception for Time Travellers,” the invite reads. “No RSVP required.” It gives the date, time and exact coordinates of the location at Cambridge University’s Gonville and Caius College.

“I’m hoping copies of it in one form or another will survive for many thousands of years.” he explains. “Maybe one day, someone living in the future will find the information and use a wormhole time machine to come back to my party, proving that time travel will one day be possible.”

A hopeful Hawking is seen sitting alone in the room as the seconds tick by, and no one appears. “What a shame,” jokes the scientist. “I was hoping a future Miss Universe was going to step through the door.”

. . . .

Of course, just because no one came to his party, doesn’t mean that time travel doesn’t exist, Giant Freakin Robot blog has pointed out. The issue could be that the party took place on a different reality timeline, the invitations didn’t survive long enough for anyone to see, time travellers can’t control their movement or simply that “time travelers are d**ks.”
By the way, the same article contains another anecdote about Stephen Hawking: 
In June 2014, comedian John Oliver asked Hawking in an interview: “You’ve stated that there could be an infinite number of parallel universe ... Does that mean there’s a universe out there where I am smarter than you?”

Lightning fast, Hawking countered: “Yes. And also a universe where you’re funny.” 
The time travel anecdote above coincided with my coming across a story about these plaques in London: 

The above pics are from a blog called Darkest London, which contains the following comment, from 2013: 
The plaque was the work of Dave Askwith and Alex Normanton, who made the signs look as authentic as possible and then surreptitiously secured them to buildings. Some lasted weeks, some months.

They released a book of their witty, realistic-looking work called Signs of Life in 2005. Now out of print, it’s available here on Amazon, or here on Abebooks if you can’t stomach non-tax-paying conglomerates. 
And why have I posted the comment in full? Because it is ironic that in an item about time travel, the first readers comment: 
Hate to tell you, but Amazon bought Abebooks in 2008. Yeah, i didn’t know until last month. 😦 
So today’s theme, dear Byters, is time travel. Most is from a 2013 Bytes post but there is some newer material as well. 


Future Man tells the 50’s about social media: 


Corn Corner: 

I used to be addicted to time travel but that’s all in the past now. 

"Please help me, Doctor, I keep seeing into the future!" 
"Ah. And when did this start?" 
"Next Tuesday afternoon." 

A time traveller had a great meal so went back four seconds.