Newcastle Museum does like to blow people's minds. Now this commendable aim has been enshrined in its branding.
In an artistic interpretation of City of Newcastle's brand, the colour red was combined with items from the museum's collection exploding from the heads of regular visitors.
Dinosaurs, saxophones, exotic fish, butterflies, periscopes and astronauts are among the images that depict the creative concept of "heads full of wonder".
"Newcastle Museum always feels like it's exploding with new ideas and exciting things to see and do," museum director Julie Baird said.
"We wanted to symbolise that and decided that the colour red, symbolic of passion, molten steel and heart, was appropriate for the institution that tells the story of this amazing city.
"Newcastle Museum appeals to a broad range of visitors, ages, backgrounds and interests. We invited people who visit regularly or often help the museum to feature in the images."
To celebrate the new creative direction, the museum will hold a family picnic at the rear of its Honeysuckle building on Saturday, followed by a "Red Not Dead" party that evening.
Picnickers and party-goers will encounter the "heads full of wonder" images and "flushing facts" on the site's dunny doors.
Also on display will be a miniature Victoria Cross medal. It was awarded to Captain Clarence Jeffries during World War I. It's the highest honour that can be earned for bravery.
Those who attend will also see the oldest object in the museum's collection. It's a piece of petrified wood found in a limestone mine at Lambton. The object, believed to be about 240 million years old, is from the Permian period.
The picnic in the park runs from 10am to 2pm. Entry is free. Bring your own picnic lunch and hang out on the lawn, where live music, giant games and juggling acts will entertain.
The Red Not Dead event runs from 5pm to 9pm. Entry is free. It's a night to dance, drink, eat and explore. There'll be live music, spear-shaping demonstrations, hot sauce tasting and a red fashion show.
The Days of Long Socks
Bob "Minmi Magster" Skelton picked up on our comment last week about being asked to take a hat off at Nelson Bay Golf Club.
We'd suggested that this practice was a bit out of date. After all, wearing a hat isn't an inherently rude thing. A hat is no different to any other article of clothing or accessory. It's just that society decided somewhere along the way that wearing hats in clubs was a no-no.
"I always wear a cap at West Wallsend Workers Club," said the Magster, who's a well known bush poet.
"At 6pm, you've got to take it off. Which is fair enough. But the women can wear a hat. They can also wear a singlet. But if I went in with a singlet, they'll go out behind the bar and get you a T-shirt to put on."
The Magster recalled an experience in Darwin in the 1960s.
"I went to have a beer with an Irishman in a pub at Darwin. He was amazed we couldn't get into the pub because we never had long socks on," he said.
Ahhh, the days of long socks. This reminds us of teachers at schools with their shorts and long socks. So fashionable.
"I think it used to apply in the clubs as well. If you had shorts on, you had to have long socks on," the Magster said.
All this reminds the Magster of a joke.
"A bloke went to get into a club. He was told, 'Sorry, you can't come in without a tie'. He said, 'I might have one in the car'. He comes back in and says, 'This is all I could find - a set of jumper leads'. He had them tied around his neck. The club attendant at the door said, 'I suppose that's OK, but don't start anything, whatever you do'."
That joke goes back a long way, the Magster said.
"You can recycle these old jokes," he said.
"I heard a good one the other day. At Uluru-Ayers Rock, they've got 'climb-it change'.
"I don't know who dreams these jokes up. There's no copyright on a joke - that's why us bush poets sometimes get a good one and rehash it into a poem. It's an easy way to do it. There's some classics out there, but you've got to be careful today [not to offend]."
Home and Dry
The drought is bringing back memories for Herb Black.
Herb is 94 and lives at Belmont. He told us about his days living at Merriwa as a youngster.
"Merriwa was the hottest town in the state," Herb said.
He recalled a particularly dry period many decades ago in which 1000 sheep died over six months on his family's property.
He also recalled "rabbit plagues".
The rabbits, he said, were "yellow, black and white".
"They were dying in the heat, too," he said.