Monday, January 22, 2018
It is not correct that the word “politics” comes from the word “poly”, meaning many, and “ticks”, meaning small, bloodsucking things. That is only a joke. The origin of “politics” is the Greek word “polis,” meaning “city.” This produced the Greek “polites,” meaning “citizen”. This in turn produced “politikos,” meaning “regarding citizens or matters of state.” In Latin, the Greek “politikos” became “polticus,” which eventually gave us “politics,” “political,” and, with the suffix “ian” indicating action or agency, “politician” for a person whose jobs involves affairs of government or civil administration. Hence “politics” is the system of governing a society, and a “politician” is someone who works in that apparatus.
The word gerrymander means to manipulate boundaries for political advantage. It dates from 1812 when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, signed a bill that redrew districts to favour his party. One of the districts resembled a salamander, giving rise to the term Gerry-mander and from there gerrymander.
The word “caucus” originated in the US shortly before the Revolution where it meant a private meeting of the leaders of a political party to pick candidates for office or conduct other internal party business. Over the years it has broadened to mean any sort of closed political meeting to decide policy and has spread to use by numerous other countries. There is no definitive explanation for the origin of the term.
Q: What's the difference between a caucus and a cactus?
A: A cactus has all the pricks on the outside.
Pork barreling is spending government money on a local project in order to win the votes of the people who live in that area.
From an item by Hugh Rawson in the American Heritage magazine:
The metaphor [ie pork barrel spending] stems from the practice in the pre-refrigeration era of preserving pork in large wooden barrels of brine. The political usage may have been inspired by the distribution of rations of salt pork to slaves on plantations. "Oftentimes the eagerness of the slaves would result in a rush upon the pork barrel, " wrote a 'journalist' named C.C. Maxey in 1919, "in which each would strive to grab as much as possible for himself. Member of Congress in the stampede to get their local appropriation items into the omnibus river and harbor bills behaved so much like negro slaves rushing the pork barrel, that these bills were facetiously styled 'pork-barrel' bills."
Rawson closes with the wonderful quote from a Senate chaplain in the early 20th century. Asked whether he prayed for the senators, the man of the cloth responded, "No, I look at the senators and pray for the country."
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Yesterday I was briefly discussing the Anthony Hordern “While I Live, I’ll Grow” tree with some friends and I promised I would do a Bytes on it today. It occurs to me that, today, few people would know of it so it is worth recalling and recording . . .
- In 1823 free immigrant from England, Anthony Hordern, founding member of the Hordern family in Australia, established a drapery shop in Sydney. A large menswear store and one of the largest mail order businesses in Australia were additional ventures. The business, eventually known as Anthony Hordern & Sons, remained in family hands for a century, although not without legal tussles and court cases.
- A six-storey building, called The Palace Emporium, was opened in 1905. Located on the corner of George, Pitt and Goulburn Streets in the CBD (now occupied by World Square), it was once the largest department store in the world, covering 21 hectares in floor space.
- Downturns in trading saw Anthony Hordern & Sons taken over by Waltons in 1970.
- The Palace Emporium was used by the NSW Institute of Technology (now UTS) for some years but it was demolished in 1986 for the World Square development, which remained a hole in the ground for nearly twenty years (due to shutdown after union problems) before finally being completed in 2004. Saving the building was determined not to be feasible due to the state and condition. The owner, Singapore based Ipoh Garden Development, did however refurbish the Queen Victoria Building back to heritage standard.
- Anthony Hordern & Sons used a tree as a logo with the motto "While I live I'll grow". It appeared above all the store's window fittings and on all its stationery.
- Apparently there used to be a large Port Jackson fig tree on a ridge at Razorback (hi Steve and Diane) near Camden, that resembled the Hordern logo tree. AH arranged with the land owners at Razorback to erect a large, long sign alongside bearing the motto "While I live I'll grow".
- I have read that vandals poisoned the Razorback tree and that thereafter the Palace Emporium hit the hard times that eventually finished it off.
- The Razorback tree must have survived because there is a report that a 2014 gale destroyed the 109-year-old Port Jackson fig, splitting it in two and blowing it over.
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sorry if this is of little interest to those outside Sydney. For those of us inside Sydney, the locations shown are quite familiar to us today so that the changes seen are both cause for thought and fascinating.
Excavation to build Wynyard Railway Station in Sydney in 1928
Wool ships at Circular Quay in Sydney in 1900.
St James Corner, Sydney in 1935
Sydney, year unknown
Aerial photo of Sydney with Hyde Park in the centre, St Marys Cathedral in the forefront. Year unknown...possibly 1929
Petrol bowsers, Bent Street Sydney c.1928.
Gowings building George St, Sydney built in 1929, it was then the tallest building in Sydney
Bridge Street Sydney 1866,
King's Cross Theatre in 1930s
Corner of Market and Pitt Streets, Sydney in 1890s
Blues Point looking towards Balmain and Goat Island, year unknown.
Broadway and City Road, Broadway, Sydney in 1954.
King St, Sydney from corner of George St, looking eastwards in 1880
King St, Sydney looking west towards Pitt and George Streets in 1900.
Children in Sydney slums, mainly Surry Hills, Woolloomooloo, Redfern, 1949
A tram traveling from Sydney City to Rose Bay in 1900.
Milk Bar Central Railway Station, Sydney 1946.
Compare this with its earlier incarnation as a soda fountain/kiosk, c1923:
Another image from 1946, Central Station milk bar, Sydney
The original Woolworths store, located in the basement of the original Imperial Arcade,Sydney (year unknown).
Btw, Woolworths in Australia has no connection with Woolworths in the US. Woolworths Limited, the Oz one, was founded in September 1924, originally under the name "Wallworths Bazaar Ltd.", a play on the internationally renowned F. W. Woolworth name. After discovering the name had not been registered in Australia, and Woolworths had no plans for overseas expansion, the company became "Woolworths Limited" on 22 September 1924.
Friday, January 19, 2018
This week’s Funny Friday comes to you in a different format to what you are used to. This week it’s not a collection of jokes but a homage to reality: a continuation of great replies and comebacks.
I issue a caution however that the following items include many that are of a risqué nature, so cross the line only at your own peril . . . or perhaps enjoyment . . .
This is the line . . .
This is the line . . .
Great Comebacks and replies, continued:
Okay, you all knew these classics had to come so let’s get them out of the way early . . .
Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) was a British statesman, army officer, and writer, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory during the Second World War. Translated from Swedish, his citation upon receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 reads, "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values". Those who have seen The King’s Speech will be aware that the great orator in fact suffered from a speech impediment that he had to work to overcome. Although some sources cite his impediment as a stutter, it has also been argued that Churchill’s speech problem was a lisp. He could not pronounce the letter “S” and never really learned to do so—so he turned it into a prop, exaggerating words like his famous “Narzzsseess” for “Nazis.” Churchill was also renowned as prodigious drinker, an image which he himself liked to promote. It is conceded by most historians that he was not an alcoholic.
Nancy Astor (1879 – 1964) was an American citizen who moved to England at age 26. She made a second marriage to Waldorf Astor as a young woman in England. After he succeeded to the peerage and entered the House of Lords, she entered politics, in 1919 winning his former seat in Plymouth and becoming the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons, serving until 1945.
It has been said that at a 1912 dinner party at Blenheim Palace, the Churchill family estate, Lady Astor become tired of an inebriated Winston Churchill pontificating on a subject. Finally she snapped at him: “Winston, if I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee.”
Churchill responded "Nancy, if I were your husband I would drink it."
At least one author has argued that the exchange didn’t happen and that it is an older joke recycled:
The following exchange between Winston Churchill and Bessie Braddock has, however, been verified as accurate by Churchill's bodyguard Ron Golding, who heard his boss say it.
Bessie Braddock (1899 – 1970) was a British Labour Party politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Liverpool Exchange division from 1945 to 1970. Braddock gained a national reputation for her forthright campaigns in connection with housing, public health and other social issues.
Bessie Braddock to an inebriated Winston Churchill:
“Winston, you are drunk.”
Churchill, in reply:
"Madam, you are ugly, but I will be sober in the morning."
John Barrymore (1882 – 1942) was an American actor on stage, screen and radio., also the grandfather of Drew Barrymore. Known as the Great Profile, he featured in silent films and in early sound films. He struggled with alcohol abuse from the age of 14, was married and divorced four times, and declared bankruptcy later in life. The Great Profile died in 1942 from cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure, complicated by pneumonia. Errol Flynn's memoirs claim that the film director Raoul Walsh borrowed Barrymore's body before burial to leave his corpse propped in a chair for a drunken Flynn to discover when he returned home. Gene Fowler, a close friend of Barrymore, denies the claim. MRDA
After a long day of shooting a film in Hollywood, John Barrymore and some fellow actors stopped in at Lucy's, a popular watering hole near Paramount Studios. After one-too-many drinks, Barrymore excused himself to go to the bathroom. In his slightly inebriated condition, however, he inadvertently chose the ladies' room.
As he was relieving himself, a woman entered and was shocked to see a man urinating into one of the toilets.
"How dare you!" she exclaimed, "This is for ladies!"
The actor turned toward the woman, organ in hand, and resonantly said in full actor's voice: "And so, madam, is this."
Julius Henry Marx (1890 – 1977), known professionally as Groucho Marx, was an American comedian, writer, stage, film, radio, and television star. He was known as a master of quick wit and is widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born. He also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game show You Bet Your Life.
Btw: I have been watching full episodes of You Bet Your Life on Youtube. Well worth the watch. Google the episode "crazy eyes".
It has been suggested that this is another of one of the great comebacks never actually said.
A woman with 12 children made a guest appearance as a contestant on Groucho Marx’s quiz show You Bet Your Life.
Woman: “I have 14 children, Groucho”.
Groucho: “You have 14 children? Why do you have so many kids?”
Woman: “Because I love my husband”.
Groucho: “I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth every once in a while.”
Tallulah Bankhead (1902 – 1968) was an American stage and screen actress. Bankhead was known for her husky voice, outrageous personality, and devastating wit. Originating some of the 20th century theater's preeminent roles in comedy and melodrama, she gained acclaim as an actress on both sides of the Atlantic. Bankhead became an icon of the tempestuous, flamboyant actress, and her unique voice and mannerisms are often subject to imitation and parody. Bankhead hailed from a prominent Alabama political family — her grandfather and uncle were U.S. Senators and her father served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Her support of liberal causes such as civil rights broke with the tendency of the Southern Democrats to support a more typically aligned agenda and she often opposed her own family publicly.
Leonard Marx (1887 – 1961), known professionally as Chico Marx, was an American comedian, musician, bandleader, actor and film star. He was a member of the Marx Brothers (Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, and Zeppo Marx). His persona in the act was that of a charming, dim-witted albeit crafty con artist, seemingly of rural Italian origin, who wore shabby clothes and sported a curly-haired wig and Tyrolean hat. In virtually every film that includes the main trio of the Marx Brothers, Chico is seen working with Harpo Marx, usually as partners in crime.
In an interview with Dick Cavett, which appeared in a 1993 television documentary “The Unknown Marx Brothers", Cavett told of Bankhead meeting Chico Marx at a party. This was before she had become famous, and when she was still prominent for being the daughter of William B Bankhead, Alabama politician, member of the US House of Representatives and Speaker of the House.
Marx had been cautioned to not display any of his typically crude comments and behaviour. The two met over the punch bowl and exchanged greetings:
Chico: “Miss Bankhead.”
Tallulah: “Mr Marx.”
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Chico: “You know, I really want to fuck you.”
Tallulah: “And so you shall, you old fashioned boy.”
Edward Gough Whitlam (1916 – 2014) was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1972 to 1975. The Leader of the Labor Party from 1967 to 1977, Whitlam led his party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He won the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Whitlam remains the only Australian prime minister to have his commission terminated in that manner.
On being repeatedly pestered by a heckler on the campaign trail wanting to know Whitlam’s stance on abortion:
“Let me make quite clear that I am for abortion and, in your case Sir, we should make it retrospective.”
And finally, some visual ones: