Truth in advertising?

I met some friends at the pub last night and I saw this poster that I thought was priceless.

You can WIN 100’s of thousands of dollar$ in cash & prizes!

Then look in the bottom righthand corner. 1st place $150, 2nd place $50. You can wins hundreds of thousands of dollar$ but you’d need to win every week for over six hundred weeks for your first hundred grand.

Where would we be without church signs?

Here are a couple more classics from those geniuses that think you can billboard faith. The first comes from the Springwood Presbyterian Church in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Would you worship Jesus if he scored 10,000 test runs?

Certainly not. He’d probably be playing for Nazareth. And then he’d no doubt turn it into a parable or something. And are we talking career runs here or 10,000 in a single test? That would make a difference.

Underneath it say “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow”. Just the knee? 10,000 runs in a single test and I imagine every jaw would drop way beyond the knee.

Whenever someone sends me a good church sign like the one above I’m encouraged to go out and check our old mates at the Sydney Central Baptist Church. Here’s their latest effort:

Jesus Loves Osama

Jesus and Osama, sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

We should show this one to George W Bush and watch his little evangelical brain explode. “But Jesus is our Lord and Osama is a terr’ist! Jesus is our Lord. Osama is a terr’ist. Jesus loves terr’ists! Aarrghhh!” *BOOM*

I can dream, can’t I?

Underneath it reads, Jesus said, “love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you”. Isn’t that what got us into all this trouble in the first place?

Some of the coolest just ain’t true

It’s a well known fact that many very famous quotes from the worlds greatest movie stars were never actually uttered by those stars. Sylvester Stallone never said, “Don’t push me!” in First Blood. He actually asked, quite calmly, “Why are you pushing me?” More recently he may have asked Australian authorities, “Why are you going through my bags? That’s prescription medicine, honest. Of course I built these muscles at 60 years old perfectly naturally.”

Cagney never said, “You dirty rat.” He actually said, in 1932’s Taxi, “Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I’ll give it to you through the door!” Humphrey Bogart never said, “Play it again, Sam” in Casablanca. The closest he came to that line was, “Play it, Sam.”

However, there’s one particular quote that has kept reappearing over the last decade and a bit more and it seems to go from strength to strength. It appeared again today in the Sydney Magazine in an article about the infamous Sydney surf gang, the Bra Boys.

One of the Bra Boys bears a tattoo on his chest which reads MY BROTHERS KEEPER. In her Sydney Magazine article, Kate McClymont refers to the phrase as being part of a longer passage from the Bible. Ezekiel 25:17 to be exact. Apparently this passage was discovered in jail by one of the Bra Boys and adopted by them. In her article, Kate reproduces the whole passage:

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

It’s likely that Kate got this full version from the Bra Boys, who in turn apparently got it from someone in jail. The trouble is, it probably originated from Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 movie brilliance, Pulp Fiction. Who can forget Samuel L Jackson as the heavily coiffed Jules, delivering exactly that passage before poppin’ a cap in someone’s ass? After all, it does sound damned cool.

Sam Jackson delivering his cold-blooded lines

But Tarantino didn’t get it from the Bible. He got it from a Sonny Chiba movie. Tarantino is an unashamed fan of Sonny Chiba and references the man and his work in several of his movies (Pulp Fiction, True Romance and he even got Chiba to star in his latest epic, Kill Bill). An old Sonny Chiba movie called Karate Kiba (which was called The Bodyguard in English) had this passage as its opening scroll, with the words “I am the Lord” substituted with “I am Chiba the Bodyguard”.

Sonny Chiba (yeah, he’s way cooler than Sam Jackson)

I’m afraid that Kate McClymont, in her magazine article, is perpetuating a myth, probably unawares. It’s possible that the Bra Boys were also led along in the first place, erroneously explaining the verse to Kate. Tarantino himself was influenced by Chiba. And what about Chiba? Who knows. I’m afraid that’s where my research ends.

The quote has some truth to it. Ezekiel 25:17 in the King James Bible reads “And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.” But it says nothing about brothers and inequities and the paths of righteous men.

It seems that many people have been led astray by Sonny Chiba and Quentin Tarantino and it continues to this day. Still, it is a cool quote.

The product or the place?

Every now and then I go past a big shop window with huge, brightly painted letters saying:


Or something similar. I know it’s my pedantism, but it always occurs to me that sentences like this are ambiguous. Is it the sale or the rugs that are massive? It could be a relatively small sale of just three or four massive rugs that wouldn’t actually fit in anyone’s home. Or, more likely, they have a huge variety or normal rugs, all featured in a massive sale.

However, every once in a while my twisted mind gets twisted a little bit more. Take this example:

I took this photo last week. It’s a place just on the edge of the English village where I’ve been staying for the last couple of months. So, it’s obviously a huge showroom, massive in fact, with a variety of normal cane furniture on display. Well, maybe not. A little further along the road and we are presented with this:

Look at the size of that chair! It’s bigger than a BMW. So now I’m confused. Is it the showroom or the furniture that’s massive? They’re just playing with my mind.

This weeks incomprehensible headline

Have a look at this weeks front page headline from the Woking Review:

Yes, it really does say Moves to block tip flats plan.

It might seem as though someone took a handful of random letters from the Scrabble bag and made words from them. Then someone that doesn’t speak English chose the order for the words. The Woking Review is just a local publication in Southern England, with a distribution of a few thousand, but it has been around since 1924, so you’d think they’d have learned English by now.

However, nonsensical though the headline seems, it does make sense when you learn the context. Have another read and see if you can figure it out before I reveal the searingly incisive journalism on display here.

Give up? Fair enough. The first paragraph of this front page report reads:

The storm over plans for the former Westfield tip continued to rage this week as decision-makers prepare to decide the site’s fate.

Aha! It starts to become clear. It continues:

An action group was formed to resist council plans to build a six-storey block of 72 flats on the tip site following a public meeting…

So, we can translate the reporters opaque headline now to mean that People are making moves to block the council’s plans to build flats on the site that was once the local tip. (For anyone still confused, tip is another word for dump or local refuse/garbage collection site).

I wonder if the reporter was part of a secret competition to write the most obtuse headline imaginable and get it onto the front page of a paper. I think he probably won with that effort.