G'day folks,

Welcome to some more of those weird and wonderful trees around the world.

Clancy's comment: Mm ... Odd, eh?

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30 April 2018 - TOP AUTHOR QUOTES


G'day folks,

Welcome to some great quotes from famous authors and writers.

Clancy's comment: Worth reading. Most of these are common sense, but common sense ain't all that common.

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G'day folks,
 Every year, in the second week of October, millions of Roman-Catholic devotees from all over Brazil descend on the city of Belem to attend Cirio de Nazaré, the country’s largest religious festival, and to touch a 400-meter-long piece of rope believed to have the power to heal the sick.

Cirio de Nazaré has been celebrated intermittently in Brazil since 1793. The event revolves around a small statue of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré (Our Lady of Nazareth), an artifact supposedly sculpted in Nazareth that is believed to have performed miracles in medieval Portugal, before being lost in Brazil. 

Legend has it that a cattleman found it in a canal during the 1700’s, but every time he took it out of the water, it would disappear, only to be found again in the original place it was discovered. The people of Belem believed that it was Our Lady’s wish to remain there, so they built a church there, which would later become today’s Nazaré Basilica.

The celebration lasts two weeks, but the climax of the event is on the first Sunday, when the small statue is taken from the city’s Catedral da Sé to the Nazaré Basilica, on a flower-bedecked carriage pulled by thousands of devotees. The night before the procession about 15.000 devotees queue in front of the cathedral to secure a place near the 400-meter-long piece of rope used to pull the carriage through the city. Men and women align on two separate lines, and by 10 a.m. on Sunday, the human density around the rope reaches an incredible 10 people per meter.

 As the statue of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré begins its 3.5km journey to Nazaré Basilica, over 2 million people accompany it through the streets, singing to the chants aired by the speakers along the path, to salute the passage of the Virgin. The most devoted of them squirm and and grope to get a hand on the rope pulling the vehicle, and those that are successful struggle to keep their grip. It’s a daunting task, as the procession moves at a snail’s pace, and the high humidity and temperature (often around 40 degrees Celsius) make it hard to breathe.

Fainting is common during the five-to-nine hours it takes for the procession to reach its destination, but volunteers and doctors are always standing by to provide swift medical attention and evacuate sufferers. Getting to them is not the easiest thing in the world, as the area around the rope is so densely packed, that those feeling sick couldn’t escape it even if they wanted to. Many of the barefoot supplicants finish the journey on their knees, with barely enough stamina to keep from passing out. They view the rope as a link between the Saint and her followers, and most of them would rather collapse then let go.

 But even as the procession reaches its destination, the devotees don’t loosen their grip one bit. Instead they wait for someone to cut the rope in small pieces, maneuvering the tight space between their hands, so they can keep them as holy souvenirs of their struggle and evidence of their strong faith. The tiniest thread of rope is believed to have miraculous healing powers, and many believers go through this whole ordeal in the hopes of curing themselves or their loved ones of serious health conditions.

This year, the pressure on the rope was so great that it broke halfway through the procession. It is estimated that 8,000 people got the chance to reach it.


Clancy's comment: Wow! That's a long time to be holding a rope.

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28 April 2018 - SIR DONALD BRADMAN


G'day folks,

Welcome to some background on one of Australia's greatest sportsman.

Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest batsman ever to grace the game. His test average remains far above anyone else. In 52 tests he managed 29 hundreds and scored just below 6,000 runs at an average of 99.94. If he had scored 6 runs on his last test innings at Lords in 1948, he would have finished with an average of 100. However, the greatest cricketer of the era was out for a duck – a paradoxical end to a stupendous career.

Donald Bradman was so dominant that the English team resorted to ‘bodyline’ bowling on the Australian tour of 1933. It was in the era of the great depression, when cricket provided a relief from the gloom of the Great Depression. The Australians were up in arms at the ‘uncricket’ like nature of the English bowling. The tactics were criticised back in England and were even raised in parliament. Don Bradman finished the series with an average of ‘only’ 53. If it had not been for the second world war, Don Bradman’s career would have been even more amazing.

 During the war, he initially volunteered for the RAF, but was later persuaded to join the army (a safer option). However, in 1941, he suffered a bout of fibrositis. Due to the pain he was invalided out of the army, and suffered bouts of fibrositis throughout his life.

After the war, he was able to return to the national side. His final tour was the 1948 tour of England, which captivated a nation. It was said, Bradman was second only to Churchill in the degree of fame. Despite his waning powers, he still managed to score 11 centuries and 2,432 runs on tour. The Australians won the tour 4-0. In the last test at Lords, Bradman went out to bat with an average of 101. He was given a standing ovation as he left the famous Lords pavilion. But, he was bowled for 0. England lost by an innings and he never batted again. 

After retirement Sir Donald Bradman remained a great ambassador for the sport. He was knighted for his services to cricket and remained open to an adoring public, even though he remained publicity shy throughout the period. In 2001, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, said he was the greatest living Australian.

Clancy's comment: A great average for a cricketer.

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