Posted by: Gregoryno6 | April 21, 2013

An admirable Greg, the Richard Harrows of history, and seeing what others see not.

I’m proud to be a Greg. For one thing, Gregs aren’t common – I was the only Greg in any of my classes at school until I was 14. And Gregs are, generally speaking, intelligent and perceptive people.

(There are exceptions. Greg Combet, I’m looking at you.)

But Greg Watson of James Cook University has raised the bar for all of us:

Greg began studying cicadas after noticing, while out on a walk more than a decade ago, that their wings took much longer to decompose than their bodies … Using a special kind of microscope, he found that bacteria were torn apart when they came into contact with the wings.

Cicada wings have special self-cleaning properties which potentially make them useful in repair of the human body. Eye cells particularly could perhaps be grown upon wing surfaces replicated in the laboratory. The bacteria-killing properties might in time to come to be applied to everyday surfaces.

And it was a Greg who made the discovery. Isaac got hit by a falling apple; Greg picked up a dead insect.

NOW whose wings are like 'a shield of steel', eh, Batfink?

NOW whose wings are like ‘a shield of steel’, eh, Batfink?

I’ve been catching up on a few tv programs in the last couple of years – going back a few decades with Route 66 and The Man From UNCLE, but more recent viewing as well. Boardwalk Empire has been built on incredible attention to detail – this page on the show’s website will take you behind the scenes.

The cast abounds with colourful characters, many drawn upon historical figures. But Richard Harrow, played by Jack Huston, is an unsettling blend of darkness and innocence. Harrow lost half his face fighting in the trenches during World War I and covers his injury with a tin mask.


Harrow is such a complex personality that I had to find out if he too came from the history books. Surprise, surprise: “Is Richard Harrow based on a real person?” has become a popular question on Google. Seems the best answer is that there was no ‘Richard Harrow’, but many hundreds of inspirations. In 2007 published an article on the work of Francis Derwent Wood – Wood established the Masks for Facial Disfigurement Department in London in 1916. Wood’s work was further developed by an American artist living in Paris. Anna Coleman Watts created a studio and worked hard to create an air of gaiety for the severely wounded men she helped.


The Smithsonian article may well have been a source of inspiration for Harrow’s creators. And there are several comments at the end which mention Boardwalk Empire, which brings the story full circle. The scriptwriters (and Mr Huston in particular) can take some credit for the interest they’ve created.

UPDATE inserted 2013.10.30 – how much of a Richard Harrow fan are you?

As I’ve described here, I have a rather skewed view of the world. I was forwarded this chart…

Which word

…which has a number of words spread throughout the apparently random letters. The first word you see is supposed to be significant. And for once this parlour game worked exactly as it was supposed to.

Tim Elms

Tim Elms! I’ll never forget that bastard. He used to beat me up for my pocket money.

Over at Strange Cousin Susan, Mickel has posted this as proof that her handwriting skilz iz vanisherating.

beach ball

But this isn’t a signature. It’s a story about struggle, and a triumph for liberty.

Beach ball

Left unattended

Makes escape



I’m only

Three million wave crests




  1. Greg is a good name and I havet met a nasty one yet. Yesterday i was in deep conversation with a family friend…another Greg yesterday. Greg Smith…Attorney General. Interesting man. Olivia has decided she wants his top job…lol

    Cicadas…I’ve always been interested in them… Their life/death cycle is fascinating.

    As for the word game. My eyes went straight to LOVE. I guess I’m sentimentalist deep down.

    • I’m sure Olivia would do well in that role too!

      • With Smith’s past, and if she goes down that oad, I hope she does a better job than him. There’s been a dark cloud over him for many years going back to when he was DPP.

        • I thought you were saying he was one of the good Gregs – ?

  2. Well he’s not as bad as Combet I hope. I’m sure there are lots out there that think he’s good but there seems a few out there don’t think he is. Just ask Ray Hadley. Greg is in the process of sueing him for defamation.

    • After reading your last comment I found a news item that called him ‘Rambo in opposition, Marshmallow in government.’ He does seem to have softened the tough talk a lot.

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