Wednesday, April 25, 2018


They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

- From For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon

The Spirit of an ANZAC

The following story is from the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee website at 

The Spirit of an ANZAC 
by Zev Ben-Avi (Vietnam veteran)

I would like to tell you a true story about a Gallipoli veteran that I met.

The year was 1984 and I had been out of the Army a year, trying to “find” myself after too many years of having been a professional soldier. I had never been a “civvy” and adjusting to being something I had never been was a real problem.

I had always had motorcycles and had subconsciously exchanged a green uniform for a black one. I had my 1982 Moto Guzzi which I still have, and my red heeler cattle dog, who rode on the tank. We headed for the horizon to see what we could find.

In Melbourne I heard about a ride along the Reefton Spur - a great winding, twisting, mountain road starting from a pub in the Dandenong Ranges. That’s where I turned up. I fronted the bar and was accosted by a very ancient bloke who had no hair on the top of his head, a beard in four plaits down to his belly button and thick working men’s hands. He introduced himself as "Claude" and got into me with "You’re the cheeky young pup from Queensland? They tell me that you’re a veteran. Why aren’t you wearing your medals?"

I responded that wearing medals on your bike jacket was a bit flash but he stated that he wore his and promptly went off to get his jacket to show me.

My first thought was that I was going to hear all about Tobruk and Kokoda all over again. Wrong! Claude came back with his jacket and the medals were World War 1 - Gallipoli and France! I was astonished and asked how old he was. He was 94. That’s right - NINETY-FOUR.

I told him that I was amazed that he still had a bike and he responded that he didn’t, he had FOUR bikes! He had ridden from Bacchus Marsh, about 60km west of Melbourne, across the city, up into the Ranges to the pub - all on a 1949 Matchless 500cc long stroke single cylinder bike that he had owned since new. He also owned an A7 BSA 500cc twin, an early Norton Dominator 500cc twin and a recent Honda.

I said the Honda was a bit out of character, and he told me that he didn’t like his old British bikes getting wet or dirty anymore so the Honda was his "hack".

When we took off on the ride Claude declared that we should leave first as he would be a bit slower! When we stopped 80km along the spur road, we could hear the thump, thump of Claude’s Matchless. He arrived about five minutes after us. A younger bloke told him he was a bit slow. Claude told him that the bike was only a 500cc long stroke single, 35 years old and that he had to take it easy on the old girl and that it wasn’t he that was slow! It was still quite an amazing ride for the day from a man of 94!

Later whilst having a cleansing ale or two, Claude took me aside and grilled me. He asked me to name the causes of World War 2. Easy, Japanese imperialism and German fascism. He then asked me to name the causes of WW1 and I wasn’t too sure, nor that anybody actually knew.

He then asked me to name the reason why we were in Vietnam and I wasn’t too sure about that except perhaps to defend the Dow Jones Index on the Wall Street stock market. He then astounded me by declaring that WW1 and Gallipoli in particular had a lot in common with Vietnam. I couldn’t see it, but he was patient and asked me a few more questions -like a backward child.

He asked me to tell him a few battles that Australians were in where we won in WW2. Again easy, Tobruk, Mersa Matruh, El Alamein, Milne Bay, Kokoda, Buna, Gona, Balikpapan - on and on. He then asked me to name some battles where Australians had won decisively in WW1 and I was stumped because I was not too sure that anybody actually won anything - apart from say the final push at Mont St Quentin or the Light Horse charge at Beersheba.

He then asked me what we Australians actually "won" in Vietnam and again I wasn’t too sure that anything was. Sure, Australians didn’t lose a battle in Vietnam but we didn’t win anything either. We used to joke about it afterwards along the lines "We were winning when I left".

I could see a pattern emerging. He said at Gallipoli it was a total cockup at the top with the British General-in-Command never actually stepping ashore but "commanding" from a battleship at sea. The top "leadership" was a complete balls up and that the heroism in the ranks was astounding - just like Vietnam.

He said that the cause of Gallipoli was another imperial power and its strategic power play - just like Vietnam. He drew parallels with the lack of antipathy of the ANZACs towards the Turks, about whom they knew nothing, and with whom they had no fight and the Viet Cong about whom we knew little apart from a determination to defend their territory.

Claude was landed at ANZAC Cove on the first day and he was there for almost the whole time and was wounded slightly on three occasions. From there he was sent to France where he fought in the mud and blood of the trenches.

He was gassed and I could hear his chest still rattle. He said that he wasn’t gassed by the German shells but by British gas that was fired at the Germans without the weather reports being taken into account, which is why many Australians were gassed when the winds blew it back - similar to being poisoned by Agent Orange by the Americans in Vietnam.

Claude was adamant that there was no real "welcome home" as the Spanish influenza outbreak occurred as the troops were coming home and that more Australians died of Spanish Flu than the 8500 at Gallipoli. He said that just about every town, village and suburb got a memorial with an honour roll to remember but that the returning soldiers had to battle on without much support - just like Vietnam.

Claude said that there was no Veterans’ Affairs in place to look after them. They had to agitate with government to even get a disability pension system. Claude eventually got a soldier settler block in what he said was in the middle of nowhere on marginal land with no technical or financial support. The dust bowls blew it all away in the 1920s and the banks took it so he carried a swag for six years because he couldn’t get a job due to being “off his head” - just like Vietnam veterans - a hermit and a nomad.

During the depression he built a wattle and daub hut in the Lerderderg Gorge, 22km north of Bacchus Marsh, and lived on fossicking for gold and rabbits - selling the skins. He and his wife Ivy had three children whom they walked to school on Mondays, left them with his brother in town, then picked them up on Friday afternoons when they carried their week’s supplies home in sugar sacks.

Claude was a truly lovely gentleman, although he would deny this. I don’t know what happened to him and I don’t want to know. I want to remember him as a truly marvellous example of what ANZAC really means. He said that all his mates had gone and that they had ended up in old folks’ homes dribbling down their chins and piddling in their trousers and that he was not going to let that happen to him as he had too much pride.

I don’t know what happened to him but I do vividly remember a truly decent and open man who took me under his wing to let me have the benefit of his experience. Claude found me, pointed me in the general direction and sorted me out. He probably didn’t know it, but he truly sorted out my head and has been my role model ever since.

If Claude could keep riding bikes at 94 then so can I. If Claude could get his life into perspective and become a truly decent man, then there is hope for me yet.

Lest We Forget.

Editor’s Note: The author of this story did not have any further contact with Claude. Efforts to find out what happened to him have been unsuccessful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Quote for the Day

Eric Arthur Blair (1903 – 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.  Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working class life in the north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War.

A statue of George Orwell, sculpted by the British sculptor Martin Jennings, was unveiled on 7 November 2017 outside Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC. The wall behind the statue is inscribed with: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”, words from his proposed preface to Animal Farm.

Jim Carrey's Art

* * * * * * 

I am not a great fan of Jim Carrey films, for me he is like Jerry Lewis, Adam Sandler . . . annoying as much as (or more than) entertaining. That said, I do acknowledge that I have previously included a Jim Carrey scene as one of my Top Three Funny Movie Scenes, that being the rhino giving birth from the Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls flick. (The other two are the Hitler car scene from Rat Race and the whipping scene from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.) 

I was surprised to read a day or so ago that Carrey is also an artist. He has been busy in the last weeks expressing his opposition to Donald Trump through his artworks, which he then posts online via Twitter. 

Here is a selection . . .

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Last week it was announced that former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani was joining the Trump team. Carey’s comment was a painting he called 'Ghouliani: Finally, a face we can trust!' He posted the work on Twitter. 

Btw, this is the real Rudy . . . 

 * * * * * *
In March, Carrey unveiled a portrait depicting Donald Trump as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz 

* * * * * *
 Carrey's depiction of National Security Advisor John Bolton 

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In March Carrey depicted Trump’s sons impaled on the tusks of an elephant. It resulted in a complaint to the FBI that Carrey had threatened the life of the President's sons. 

* * * * * *
 Also from last week, a work showing Donald Trump ready to dig into a bowl of two scoops of ice cream plus with whipped cream and cherries on top. The painting is a reference to a Time Magazine interview that revealed Trump always enjoys two scoops of ice cream while everyone else at the dinner table only gets one. Carey tweeted “Dear Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery @NPG, I know it's early but I'd like to submit this as the official portrait of our 45th President, Donald J. Trump. It's called, 'You Scream. I Scream. Will We Ever Stop Screaming?' “ 

* * * * * *
Trump washing himself in a sewer, next to a sign that reads 'Keep Out, Sewage Contaminated Politics' 

* * * * * *
 Trump's Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Carrey tweeted “This is the portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked.” 

* * * * * *
A not very subtle comment that shows Trump kissing the butt of Russian President Putin. 

* * * * * *
Abraham Lincoln cries over the state of the Union. 

* * * * * *

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Some other works . . . 

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* * * * * *
Electric Jesus 

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"A sunshower always feels like a miracle to me. It symbolizes the dark and the light, the beauty and the pain of existence, the cleansing purification that brings you to a greater appreciation of the life-giving sun." 
- Jim Carrey 

* * * * * *
"This painting offers an expression of love and appreciation to womenkind, and a signal of welcome to all sacred feminine tenderness." 
- Jim Carrey 

* * * * * *
James Dean, Age 6, 2011 

* * * * * *
Stephen Hawking

Monday, April 23, 2018

Last Word

I spent the weekend just gone with my father in law at Canberra. Noel likes to watch the History Channel and on Friday night we watched a story on the development of fighter planes in WW1. I was amazed to learn that WW1 pilots did not take parachutes with them when they went up, it was looked on as being cowardly, with the result that most pilots who were shot down were killed. On average WW1 pilots lasted for 60 hours flying time. (One pilot always took a pistol up with him. When asked what he hoped to do with it in a dogfight, he said that it wasn’t for the enemy, it was for himself, especially if his plane ended up on fire.) 

The program had a fair bit of detail about the development of the tri-planes, the more manouverable planes with 3 wings made famous by Baron Manfred von Richtofen and his Flying Circus. Von Richtofen was credited with 80 kills but was himself brought down over the Somme by a .303 bullet to the heart and lungs, generally now acepted to have been fired by Australian ground troops. He managed to land his plane in a field.

His last word was “Kaput!” 

According to the dictionary, “kaput” is German for “broken and useless; no longer working or effective.” 

Very apt.

Out of the mouths of . . .

* * * * * * 
Just as I was wondering what to post today, some funnies about kids arrived from Leo. Thanks, Leo. Here are some smiles, cute moments and a look at the innocent logic of kids, whether the stories are true or otherwise . . . 
* * * * * * 
A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat, but it was dead. 
"How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked her pupil. 
"Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently. 
You did WHAT?!? the teacher exclaimed in surprise. 
"You know, “explained the boy, "I leaned over and went 'Pssst!' and it didn't move." 

* * * * * * 
A small boy is sent to bed by his father. 
Five minutes later....."Da-ad...." 
"I'm thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?" 
"No, You had your chance. Lights out." 
Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....." 
"I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??" 
I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!" 
Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....." 
"When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?" 

* * * * * * 
An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him "How do you expect to get into Heaven?" 
The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St Peter says, 'For Heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!'" 

* * * * * * 
One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?" 
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. 
"I can't dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room." 
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy." 

* * * * * * 
It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children's sermon. All the children were invited to come forward. 
One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said, "That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter Dress?" 
The little girl replied, directly into the pastor's clip-on microphone, "Yes, and my Mom says it's a bitch to iron." 

* * * * * * 
A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself, "Two plus five, that son of a bitch is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine ..." 
His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, "What are you doing?" 
The little boy answered, "I'm doing my math homework, Mom." 
"And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?" the mother asked. 
"Yes," he answered. 
Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, "What are you teaching my son in math?" 
The teacher replied, "Right now, we are learning addition." 
The mother asked, "And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?" 
After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, "What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four." 

* * * * * * 
One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, ".... and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"
The teacher paused then asked the class, "And what do you think that farmer said?" 
One little girl raised her hand and said, "I think he said: 'Shit! A talking chicken!'" 
The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes. 

* * * * * * 
A certain little girl, when asked her name, would reply, "I'm Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter." 
Her mother told her this was wrong, she must say, "I'm Jane Sugarbrown." 
The Vicar spoke to her in Sunday School, and said, "Aren't you Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter?" 
She replied, "I thought I was, but mother says I'm not." 

* * * * * * 
A little girl asked her mother, "Can I go outside and play with the boys?" 
Her mother replied, "No, you can't play with the boys, they're too rough." 
The little girl thought about it for a few moments and asked, "If I can find a smooth one, can I play with him?" 

* * * * * * 
A little girl goes to the barber shop with her father. 
She stands next to the barber chair while her dad gets his hair cut, eating a snack cake. 
The barber says to her, "Sweetheart, you're gonna get hair on your Twinkie." 
She says, "Yes, I know, and I'm gonna get boobs too." 

* * * * * * 
The minister started his children’s sermon with a question, “Who knows what a Resurrection is?” 
Without missing a beat a young boy says, “If you have one lasting more than 4 hours call your physician. 
The pastor is still laughing. 

* * * * * * 
Leo’s item finishes with the words: Now keep that smile on your face and pass it on to someone! 

That seems good to me.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Quote for the Day

A man commisioned Picasso to paint a portrait of his wife.  When he first saw it, he was horrified at the style in which it had been painted.  He told Picasso that he ought to make pictures of things the way they are and produced a photograph of his wife from his wallet.  He said, "There, you see, that is a picture of how she really is." Picasso looked at it and said, "She is rather small, isn't she. And flat."

Picasso self portraits

Funny Friday

Following on from yesterday's post, the public art creations of Tom Bob, today's Funny Friday theme is art. Enjoy.

I will be away for a few days so there won't be any Bytes this weekend. 😞 Back Monday. 😊

* * * * * *
An eccentric billionaire wanted a mural painted on his library wall so he called an artist. Describing what he wanted, the billionaire said, "I am a history buff and I would like your interpretation of the last thing that went through Custer's mind before he died. I am going out of town on business for a week and when I return I expect to see it completed." Upon his return, the billionaire went to the library to examine the finished work. To his surprise, he found a painting of a cow with a halo. Surrounding this were hundreds of Indians in various sexual positions. Furious, he called the artist in. "What the hell is this?" screamed the billionaire. "Why that's exactly what you asked for" said the artist smugly. "No, I didn't ask for a mural of pornographic filth. I asked for an interpretation of Custer's last thoughts" "And there you have it" said the artist. "I call it, 'Holy cow, look at all those fucking Indians' 

There was artist who worked from a studio in his home. He specialised in nudes, and had been working on what he thought would be a masterpiece for several months now. His model showed up and, after exchanging the usual greetings and small talk, she began to undress for the day's work. He told her not to bother, since he felt pretty bad with a cold he had been fighting. He added that he would pay her for the day, but that she could just go home; he just wanted some hot tea and then, off to bed. The model said, "Oh, please, let me fix it for you. It's the least I can do." He agreed and told her to fix herself a cup too. They were sitting in the living room exchanging small talk and enjoying their tea, when he heard the front door open and close, then some familiar footsteps. "Oh my God!" he whispered loudly, "It's my wife! Quick! Take all your clothes off!"
* * * * * *
My girlfriend insisted on going to the art gallery so I went along with it and after an hour looking at pictures I called her over and said, "What about this one?"
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, it's the best one I've seen yet."
"If you don't want to be here, then leave."
"When did I say that?"
"When you called me over to look at the EXIT sign."

* * * * * *

The definition of Modern Art

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Corn Corner:

A lot of corn this week . . .

* * * * * *
I've just found a portrait of a policeman in the loft.
I think it's a Constable.

* * * * * *
Did you hear about the guy in Paris who almost got away with stealing several paintings from the Louvre? After planning the crime, getting in and out past security, he was captured only two blocks away when his Econoline ran out of gas. When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied: "Monsieur, I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."

(He couldn't make his Van Gogh. If he got Degas, could he make it Gaugin?)

* * * * * *
Artist Pablo Picasso surprised a burglar at work in his new chateau. The intruder got away, but Picasso told the police he could do a rough sketch of what he looked like. On the basis of his drawing, the police arrested a mother superior, the minister of finance, a washing machine, and the Eiffel tower.

* * * * * *
Q: How many visitors to an Art Gallery does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to do it and one to say "Huh! My four-year old could've done that!"

* * * * * *
I've developed a foolproof technique any of you can use to sculpt a model of an elephant.
1. Get a huge block of marble.
2. Chip away anything that doesn't look like an elephant.

* * * * * *
As a painter, I'm proud to say some of my work can be seen in the National Gallery.

I did the skirting boards.

* * * * * *
An artist decided to buy a new easel. He wasn't too sure what type to get. At the art shop they offered him two, a big one and a small one. He pondered for a while and finally decided on the lesser of two easels.

* * * * * *
And now, like Vincent, I'm outta here . . .

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thought for the Day

Tom Bob's Street Art

As I have previously sometimes stated, I am fascinated that you and I can look at an object and see the object; someone else can look at it and see a group of monkeys or a lobster.  Albert Einstein supposedly said logic will take you from A to B, whereas imagination will take you everywhere.  So it is with Tom Bob, a street artist who has been brightening the public areas of New York and Massachusetts by reimagining mundane items such as manhole covers, pipes and bollards.  Here is some of his work . . .