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FEEDBACK:   A MIXED BAG

We've received interesting feedback about several stories in last month's (Nov 2002) e-book.

English head-lopper Paul Kelleher failed to see any humour in our suggestion that people who knocked heads off statues should be beheaded.

Our story Off With Their Heads reported that on July 4, theatre producer Paul Kelleher, 37, from Isleworth, West London, pleaded not guilty to a charge of having caused criminal damage. City of London Magistrates' Court was told how Kelleher entered the gallery carrying a cricket bat, and knocked the head off a statue of Lady Thatcher. Kelleher admitted having attacked the statue but said he would not plead guilty to criminal damage as he was "not a criminal," adding "I haven't really hurt anybody, it's just a statue, an idol we seem to be worshipping to a greater extent."

We had commented: "Well, what can we do about these misguided mischief-makers? Perhaps the phrase an eye for an eye should be amended to a head for a head, and they, like their victims, should be beheaded".

Paul responded with this message in our Guest Book: A little severe for harming rocks rather than the living don't you think Eric, proof that the world has lost its sense of humour i'd say. Oh dear!

I replied: Hi Paul. Of course I was writing tongue in cheek when I suggested that statue-loppers should be beheaded. But it requires a strange sense of humor to see anything funny about wilful destruction of a work of art.

Next day, Paul sent us this email: "Strange sense of humour" - "strange world" - "strange Environment", I wonder where I take my influences from? "Wilful destruction of a work of art" - mankinds overview of humanity! No damage done - Easy Eric.

We searched the web again, and found that a London columnist, John O'Farrell, had defended Paul in The Guardian when he wrote "Paul Kelleher should not have removed the head of Thatcher's statue. He should have decapitated the original."

In another story last month, Anyone For Cricket? we asked "Why don't we eat more insects?" Douglas Thompson of Tamarind Tours, Bangkok (Thailand) told us: People  here eat all kinds of insects. Insect snack kiosks are very popular in shopping malls. I have to wonder how they capture all those critters.

Then, in the story abut two places named Komarno (in Canada and Slovakia), we showed a link to a photo of the world's largest mosquito, in Komarno, Manitoba. The photo is posted on the Canadian website Big Things, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Webmaster David Yanciw commented: Neat story. I find it quite interesting. What would have been really funny is if Komarno was located in Saskatchewan, the neighbouring province to Manitoba (where it is located). Saskatchewan's postal abbreviation is SK. Pretty ironic.

It would have been confusing, too, since the international web abbreviation for Slovakia is also sk. As a special bonus, we invite you to read David's Editorial on the Greatness of Big Things

The story about the Army newspaper Guinea Gold stirred the memories of World War II veterans in Australia and the US. Australian Ron Leard, 7 Elizabeth Street, Tamworth, New South Wales, kindly sent me a photocopy of one of the earliest issues, Vol. 1, No.16, printed "In the Field, Friday, December 4, 1942. NOT FOR SALE."

Ron's address rang a bell. When I joined Guinea Gold's editorial staff in Lae, New Guinea, the editor/commanding officer was my good mate (buddy) from the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Captain Don Greenlees. Before the war, Don and his wife, well-known journalist Mollye Dye, occupied a flat (apartment) at 7 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Very strange!

[Don Greenlees died in 1979, aged 67. His son, also named Don Greenlees, is south-east Asia correspondent of the daily newspaper The Australian.]

Pat Tillery (wonder if he's a brother of Art Tillery?) of Pensacola, Florida, webmaster of KilroyWasHere, a great website for US service veterans, mentioned the article in his newsletter: "Eric Shackle, in his Life Begins at 80 web site, has done it again. Don't miss his Guinea Gold story." Pat tells us he received this message from one of his online visitors: "Enjoyed Guinea Gold section... Dedicated guys -- Hap Halloran."

Copyright 2002

Eric Shackle

Story first posted December 2002

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