Sunday, December 31, 2006


There is a Chinese saying that goes something like this..

"When someone shares with you something of value, you have an obligation to share it with others!"

OK, when I first read this, I immediately agreed with the sentiment, then I thought about it. With gritted teeth, I softly said to myself "yeah, right".

In certain cases, the very act of sharing 'something of value' would devalue it, especially where the perceived value is very much a personal thing.

Another statement I find difficult to comprehend is made by many people. We have all heard somebody say:

"All people are born equal" or "We all bleed the same color blood"

I am always left with the impression that those who make it have based it upon a maxim picked up from "Animal Farm", notably:

"All Animals Are Equal"

George Orwell, a committed democratic socialist, based "Animal Farm" on Joseph Stalin and Russian Communism. In the book, the original maxim had an addition made to it.

".. but some animals are more equal than others"

Never a truer word said. Look at any society that claims democracy and equality, and it does not take long to see that either is a complete sham.

On the subject of equality, why is it that I am argumentative if I disagree with something that you have said, but you are just stating the opposite stance perchance you should disagree with me?

Is 'justice' just one more example of a seven letter word?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Fair Cop..

A well known local speedster was driving along the highway at way over the speed limit. Out of the trees stepped the equally well known local sheriff, stopped the car and, with an evil grin on his face, said to the driver "I have been waiting for you all day." The driver laughed and answered "And I got here as fast as I could."

Breaking News..

dateline - October 22nd 1879

Yesterday evening, Thomas Edison, the well known inventor, invited the press to his house such that they could view his latest invention. Having all crowded into the small room, Thomas walked to the table where the invention was set up. He flicked a switch, and slowly, the glass globe began to glow.

Some reporters, overcome by what they were seeing, rushed from the room in their eagerness to be first with the story. Unfortunately, they missed out on the really big scoop as, some twenty seconds later, Thomas leaned over to the bright glass globe, and said


(courtesy of Mr Bob Newhart)

Why Do We Say That..

To "Coin a Phrase"..

The verb to 'coin' originally meant to literally mint a coin, and dates to the 14th century. Through time, the word became quite common in a variety of guises (coin, coyne, coigne) and in the 16th century was used in the context of creating a 'new' phrase, perhaps a person's concise view regarding a 'gossip' overheard.

Printers used a 'quoin' (small wedges, latterly expanding wedges) to hold type together on the old style 'platen' printing press. In this way, they were creating new phrases.

The "parting shot"..

Parthian shot (PAR-thee-uhn shot) - noun

A hostile remark made in departing [after the natives of Parthia, an ancient country in southwest Asia]. Parthians were expert archers. Their specialty was firing arrows while in, or pretending to be in, retreat which disrupted the enemy forces.


Serious Things To Ponder..

Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in", but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put a man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?

Do you ever wonder why you gave me your e-mail address in the first place?

Original sources unknown

Political Comment..

Saddam Hussein has been executed having been found guilty of complicity in the localized massacre of Shias, around 150 in number. Why was there no mention of the mass gassing of Kurds in Northern Iraq? Over 5000 Kurds died as a result of Saddam Hussein. Could it be that there was no mention because WMD used in the Kurd Massacre was sold to him by the US and the UK?

Is it any wonder that Saddam Hussein was not allowed to mention this incident during any of his trial? When Western forces went looking for WMD, was it an attempt to try to cover up the origination evidence before the rest of us gotten to see?

Saddam Hussein is finally gone, but the ill-fated 'War on Terror' continues, ironically promising more terror.

Now, I guess we can all sit back and wait for the next Osama Bin Laden video postcard "Having a wonderful time. Glad you're not here."

Friday, December 29, 2006

Do well to remember that ........

.. for every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.. (R.Emerson)

.. a weak mind is like a microscope which magnifies trifling things yet cannot receive giant ones.. (Lord Chesterfield)

.. age is wonderful, it enables us to recognize a mistake when we make it again.. (Albert Nimeth)

.. we live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.. (Oscar Wilde)

.. a thought often makes us hotter than a fire.. (Longfellow)

.. often we stand at life's crossroads and view what we think is the end. But GOD has much bigger vision and he tells us it's only a bend in the road. (Helen Steiner Rice)

.. gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid.. (Walter Winchell)

.. the world is full of willing people, some willing to work, some willing to let them.. (Robert Frost)

.. a friend is one who knows all about you and loves you just the same.. (Elbert Hubbard)

.. the world turns aside to let any man pass who knows whither he is going..(D.S.Jordan)

.. truth is stranger than fiction, fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn’t.. (Mark Twain)

.. managing success is a tough job, there’s a very fine line between self-confidence and arrogance.. (Jack Welch)

.. if you first don’t succeed, you may be at your level of incompetence already.. (Lawrence Peter)

.. don’t throw stones at your neighbors’ if your own windows are glass.. (Benjamin Franklin)

Source given where known..

Why the chipmunk has stripes..

Chipmunk was awakened by the noise of falling crockery. Bear was taking his morning walk through the forest, and as usual was not happy, thumping the ground with each stride.
Chipmunk poked his head out. "Bear, could you please walk more softly. You are disturbing my sleep."

Bear looked over at Chipmunk and said in a very gruff voice "I am Bear, the strongest animal in the forest, and I can do anything I like."

Chipmunk jumped down from his home, and approached Bear. "If you really are the strongest animal in the forest, and can do anything, then stop the sun from rising in the morning sky." Bear thought for a second, and agreed to take on the challenge.

That night, Bear sat on a fallen log in front of Chipmunks home, eager to prove himself and his strength. The next morning, Chipmunk wasn't awakened by falling crockery. The reason this time was the sun's rays beating through the small window. Chipmunk jumped down from his home to taunt the sleeping Bear. "Bear couldn't do it, Bear couldn't do it. Hahahahaha. The sun has risen and Bear couldn't stop it."

Bear awoke quickly and, turning on Chipmunk, held him to the ground with his paw. "I may not be able to stop the sun rising, but I can certainly make sure that you never ever see a sunrise again." Chipmunk was struggling to breathe and very afraid.

"Bear, before you stop me from ever seeing the sunrise again, can I say a prayer?" Bear agreed to this. Chipmunk then asked if Bear could release the pressure a little so that he could say his prayer properly. Bear agreed. As soon as he could feel Bear release slightly, he struggled free and started to run off. Bear tried to stop Chipmunk, but only managed to graze the chipmunks back.

To this day, the chipmunk has stripes on its back to remind all other forest animals never to mock those less smart and less quick than oneself.

Origins in the Native American tribes of the North Eastern Woodland

The Camera Never Lies..

.. or does it? Maybe not at the time when photos were taken exclusively on a glass 5x4 plate, or even as late as the 1950's on TLR's and venerable 'Box Brownies'. Since those heady days of 'spirit hijacks', we have been flooded with realistic colors and filter effects, all of which, we are promised, will bring our collections of snaps to life.

Some filters have always been required for monochrome film stock. Ultraviolet for use in snow areas cut down excessive glare, and the yellow K2 improved sky contrast as clouds had a tendency to wash out. Use of color introduced us to the Skylight 1a and1b, polarizing filter and graduated color filters, gray making for a more imposing, dramatic sky, and tobacco giving a softer 'sunset' look. There followed a plethora of filter effects, one of which stands out as owners of such a filter inevitably always abused it. The reference here is to the dreaded 'starburst' filter, able to put a multiple point star on every surface having a strong light source coming from it. Stars, stars, stars, stars everywhere, four point, six point, eight point. Aarrghhh.

The photo to the left of a young girl, circa 1940, has no obvious visual effects applied other than skillful lighting and the ability of the photograher to get a good dreamy, innocent 'pose' so reminiscent of the era. That is not to say that it has not been manipulated since, but it is a good example of classic monochrome portraiture, and works better because of it. The various elements within the photo are not lost to color or overdone effects.

The photo to the right of a young child with attitude to spare is definitely enhanced by the use of color. Using film stock good for skin tones and reds has given the photo a very punchy and 'in yer face' look. The pose has also had careful lighting applied, and I doubt that any parent has not seen a look like this, regardless of any effect used at the time or during preparation for publication.

OK. Lets assume that no trickery was employed at the point where the photo was captured. A skilled professional processor can use masks and varying exposure times while getting the image onto paper, which is further manipulated by carefully giving it the right time in the various processing baths. It can then be handed to an artist who can retouch any effect whatsoever. One can't manipulate the actual processing of transparencies in the same way as prints, other than to make time adjustments if the film stock has been 'pushed', but retouching applies to transparencies too.

Digital photography now promises every photographer in the land the chance to digitally alter and/or enhance any picture, for whatever purpose. Highly adept 'Adobe Photoshop' users can make us believe anything, and even lesser photo editor programs in the hands of outright amateurs can have us wondering. The photo to the left, of a very beautiful, self-assured young lady has elements of the 40's in that the hairstyle is of that time. Careful lighting as with any portrait is apparent, yet the overall color tone is a throw back to earlier times when Sepia tone was not just the rage, but all that was available. If one looks more closely, there is color in the eyes too.

How can a camera possibly lie, when all it does is capture a small slice of time? The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Lost in translation..

A girl asked a guy if he thought she was pretty. He said "no."

She asked him if he would want to be with her forever. He said "no."

She then asked him if she were to leave would he cry, and once again he replied with a no.

She had heard enough. As she walked away, tears streaming down her face, the guy grabbed her arm and said...

"You're not pretty. You're beautiful. I don't want to be with you forever. I NEED to be with you forever. And I wouldn't cry if you walked away. I'd die."

Source yet to be identified.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A shot for tourism..

General Franco's decision to allow bikini clad females on the beaches of Spain did more for Spanish tourism than the creation of the name "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch" ever did for tourism on the island of Anglesey, North Wales.

The name means: "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave".

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed..

  1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?
  2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are
  3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas
  4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me
  5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....
  6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me
  7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire
  8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why
  9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?
  10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,

Original source unknown, but obviously a person with a very sharp mind..

Control Tower to Flight ...............

Actual exchanges between pilots and control towers..

Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!" Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"


Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees." TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?" Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"


From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm bored!" Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!" Unknown aircraft: "I said I was bored, not stupid!"


O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound." United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this..I've got the little Fokker in sight."


A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your last known position?" Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."


A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down. San Jose Tower Noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."


A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich , overheard the following: Lufthansa (in German): " Ground, what is our start clearance time?" Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English." Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany . Why must I speak English?" Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"


Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7" Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way,after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway." Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?" BR Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern... we've already notified our caterers."


One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?" The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206. Speedbird 206: " Frankfurt , Speedbird 206 clear of active runway." Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven." The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop. Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?" Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now." Ground round (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?" Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, -- And I didn't land."

While taxiing at London 's Gatwick Airport , the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!" Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?" "Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded. Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"

Original source unknown..

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Technical Part..

This blog is authored on a home constructed PC with the following specification.

  • Biostar T6100-939 motherboard
  • AMD 64 3500+ processor
  • 3gb DDR 400 RAM
  • MSI NX6600 VTD256E video card
  • 2 x 80gb 7200rpm 8mb cache Western Digital hard drives
  • 80gb 7200rpm 8mb cache Western Digital USB external hard drive
  • LG DVD/RW and CD/RW optical drives

The system is hard wired to a D-Link 624i broadband router and connects to the internet via a Speedstream 4200 DSL modem which it shares with three other computers.

The operating system is Microsoft 'Vista', and all posts are edited in Microsoft Word 2007, part of Microsoft Office Professional 2007. There is also a full complement of other programs which combine to make it a very versatile and powerful machine.

Good Will and Peace..

May the approaching new year bring with it hope and strength for all people who, for whatever reason, can't be with those whom they love; the hope that it will be sooner and the strength if it isn't..

The Midnight Hour..

Come the day of judgement, it remains to be seen just how many will still be able to walk tall..

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My time is coming..

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

(Words courtesy of Lennon/McCartney)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Lawyer and the Blonde..

An attorney and a blonde are sitting next to each other on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. The attorney asks if she would like to play a fun game.

The blonde is tired and just wants to take a nap, so she politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.

The attorney persists. He explains how the game works..."I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me, and vice-versa."

Again the blonde politely declines and tries to get some sleep.

The attorney figures that since his opponent is a blonde he will easily win the match, so he makes another offer. "If you don't know the answer, you pay me only $5.00, but if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500."

The blonde figures there will be no end to this torment unless she plays, so she agrees.

The attorney asks, "What's the distance from the Earth to the moon?"

The blonde reaches in to her purse, pulls out a five dollar bill, and hands it to the attorney.

Then she asks the attorney, "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?"

The attorney is puzzled. He uses his laptop to search for references. He taps into the air-phone with his modem and searches the Net and the Library of Congress.

Frustrated, he sends emails to his coworkers and friends. No luck. After an hour, he gives up.

He wakes the blonde and hands her $500.00. The blonde politely takes the $500.00 and turns away to get back to sleep.

The attorney, who is going nuts trying to figure it out, wakes the blonde and asks, "Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?"

The blonde reaches into her purse, hands the attorney $5.00, and goes back to sleep.

Original source unknown

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Depression.. the worst foe of all..

Looking at websites on this topic is depressing in itself.

For US$15, you can get a 30 day course comprising a collection of CDs. Telephone and video conference counselling is available. This method saves any effort on the part of the 'counsellor' and removes any personal touch at all. One on one and group counselling is there for you as long as you can drive five hours each way because there is no counselling service in your home town or even close.

The primary treatment for most depressive illness is medication of some form. It doesn't make the problems go away but sure as hell makes it harder for you to think about them. The CD courses most likely have some soft voice telling you about breathing exercises, and that nothing is as bad as it looks. 'Next patient, please'. Yeah right.

What about the people who know exactly why they are depressed but can't do a damn thing about it? What about the people who for whatever reason are not eligible for help? What about the people who have absolutely nobody who will listen, and are not eligible for help?

Online assessments ask a bunch of questions, and after having answered all of them, send you an e-mail telling you that 'you need help bad, man'. I know that already, morons, but I am neither eligible for help nor do I have anbody at all who will listen or who wants to get involved that is in a position to help.

Depression isn't going to go away any time soon, not for me and not for thousands of others like me. We are the forgotten statistics, those who are not eligible to be counted, those whose only way out is a high bridge over a river or busy highway.

Spare a thought for people like us. We don't mean to spoil the life of the driver in the car, truck or boat who sees us after we hit the surface. We don't want to put others to the trouble of cleaning up the resultant mess. We don't want to die at all, but what the hell else is there?

All steamed up..

There are two other pictures featured in this blog of the venerable steam engine. Mighty beasts, they once were, puffing and writhing, so alive in a way that few mechanical objects can match. The steam hauled express train is sight and sound to behold, especially when negotiating inclines, and thousands of people flock to railroad preservation sites all over the world, taking picture after picture, some still and some not so, of these incredible engineering masterpieces. Steam power carried people and goods to new frontiers, small communities growing into large towns at the points where the steam engine had to take on water and something to burn. The iron horse certainly earned it's place in history.

However, they were among the most inefficient machines ever made, consuming huge amounts of coal, wood and water. At every stop, the valve gear had to be oiled. They set alight trees, embankments and fields, and if the load was too great, they had often to be double headed and banked too. They were slow and incredibly dirty, blowing choking smoke, soot, and cinders across everything in their paths.

We have long forgotten the negative aspects of railroads. Diesel and electric engines flash through the countryside, color co-ordinated to the stock they pull, shiny, sleek, clean, much faster and more efficient than their forebears. We hardly notice them anymore, save for the warnings they sound as they approach crossings and stations, yet the sound of an approaching steam engine will still see people of all ages making their way to tracks to see it pass.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fast Food? Without the 'twenty' questions, that's a maybe..

I walked into a 'food to go' establishment not too long ago. A quick look at the menu on the wall, and I had decided what to have. I ordered a BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) on Italian. What could be easier?

Girl behind the counter: Would you like bacon, sir?

My reply and thought: Please - oO you are kidding me

Girl behind the counter: Would you like lettuce, sir?

My reply and thought: Please - oO you really are kidding me

Girl behind the counter: Would you like tomato, sir?

My reply and thought: Please - oO ok, joke's over

Abridged at this point because my thoughts quickly deteriorated into the unprintable..

Girl behind the counter: Would you like mayo on that, sir?

My reply and thought: Please - oO that is the first sensible thing that you said

Girl behind the counter: Is that all, sir?

My reply and thought: Yes, thanks - oO you're on a roll, girl. Mc Donalds await your resumé

The ONLY reason I wasn't asked if I wanted 'fries with that' or have it 'supersized' is because fries and supersizing are not options. My guess is that she would pick up the new 'lines' real quick.

Do well to remember that .........

.. if you live in a glass house, the throwing of stones does not come highly recommended.

.. you can't make your fruit grow on somebody else's tree.

.. you are only ever judged on and/or by your last performance..

Good things are worth waiting for..

.. a will finds a way..

.. a sharp tongue and a dull mind are usually found in the same head..

.. you must stay wide awake to make your dreams come true..

.. some people have a veneer that comes off easily with a little alcohol..

.. it is a great art to be superior to others without letting them know that you are..

.. if we learn to co-operate with the inevitable, life can be a joy to the very end..

In the line of fire..

I would like to say that the following words would not 'empower' me, yet there are more than a few times in a day when I feel that they would be oh so appropriate..

... I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Quote courtesy of Inspector Harry Callaghan, SFPD

Monday, December 04, 2006

Two of the funniest 'chat up' lines..

Groucho Marx wooing the long suffering Margaret Dumont in his own inimitable style..

"I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought I'd rather dance with the cows until you come home."

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Scars on the landscape..

The world in which we live is ever changing, and humans have been responsible for huge changes in the way things look. The Bucket Wheel Extractor is used on open cast mining operations and can move vast amouts of material per day. These machines may be impressive in size and ability, but so are the scars they leave impressive in size. The companies involved make promises to fill the chasms left by these machines, but with what?

Deep mining can lead to surface collapses, and the waste brought out is piled high. In the case of coal waste, the heaps can be very dangerous, as seen in the Aberfan, North Wales disaster of 1966 ( They can plant what they like on these heaps in a bid to hold them together, make them look green, and try to pass them off as 'been like this for centuries', but you have to wonder about the rain that soaks through these heaps and how it affects the area around. Lead waste is even worse. In general, mines are back filled when the usefulness is gone, but not always.

If the company that owned the mine goes 'bust', who then takes responsibility for the back filling or pumping out of water? In some cases, nobody does, and the resultant pollution is hidden from public eyes. You might also not want to know that 'vitrified' nuclear waste is dumped in some deep mines too.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A tragedy turned around..

A few years ago, I made a service call to a school to fix the computer system. The head girl of the school was assigned to me for the day as she knew about the problems and was seen to be the best to give me a run down on what had been not working as it should. She was a tallish girl, long wavy hair, and looked good. I saw that she had a scar on her face, quite noticeable up close, and throughout the morning, she kept her face turned away from me so as not to let it show. Come lunchtime, she offered to bring me something to eat, and I asked if she would join me. She agreed.

We chatted generally for a few minutes, and then I decided to ask if she had a boyfriend, at which point she almost looked up at me, but told me 'no' and turned away again. It was really quite tragic that she acted this way, because the scar was not so bad. For sure it was obvious, but almost cute in its way. Sure enough, the reason she gave for her plight was the scar on her face, that it had always bothered her, left her feeling inadequate in some way. I asked her to look at me directly, and I told her that she was one of the prettiest girls I had seen. For the rest of the day, she did seem to gain more confidence, and by the time the work was finished, she actually looked up and smiled at me.

When the next service call came, I was not available, being busy with another client. The day after the call, the colleague of mine (a dashing hot-out-of-university graduate) who had been in attendance could do nothing but talk about the girl. He even told me that he had asked her for a date and was a little upset because she turned him down. She told him that she had a boyfriend and was very happy with her choice. I never returned to the school, so never met up with her again, but I would like to think that I averted two tragedies that day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Perceptions - Part Two

Skillfully crafted, sometimes engraved, a purposeful appearance, in some instances the perfect blend of wood and metal, elegant, sleek, empowering, the hand weapon is indeed an object of beauty.

History paints a different picture.

Perceptions - Part One

The person seen to be walking quickly is looking for an 'exit'. The person seen to be walking slowly is making an 'entrance'.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I have oft looked skyward and wished that I could fly like a bird, to have full freedom to the three dimensional world without the encumberance of some contraption around me. Now, I am no professional bird watcher, but I have made the following observations.

I have noticed how the majority of birds fly in straight lines, using branches or whatever is available to briefly stop before changing direction. There are notable exceptions in the Swallow, Swift and House Martin. They can turn in flight, but the turning ability is restricted by the speed of flight. They appear to be more manoeuvrable than they are. Eagles and hawks can turn in flight, but the arc is wide. Even during a hover, if they want to change position, they fly a wide arc to get there. When attacking, they are fast and can ‘roll’ to make in flight adjustments in direction, but they are limited changes, and they rely almost totally on speed, accurate distance assessment, and surprise to catch their prey.

Enter the gulls. The wing has very low drag characteristics, with good lift qualities. They can hover in almost zero wind without flapping constantly, they can rotate in a hover, make very tight turns in flight, roll into a dive very quickly, and pull up from a dive that for most birds would be their last. All of this is done effortlessly, with very little adjustment of the wing structure or feathers required.

Having caught a fish in the water, very often almost the same size as themselves, they fly at relatively low level towards the base of the cliff, then 'rotate' very sharply using the up draught of air on the surface of the cliff face to give them a push to their nesting sites. Gulls, and seabirds are among the most skilled fliers, if not the most skilled, it seems to me.

However, for all of their abilities, there is one thing that they can’t do, other than perch in trees. Their wing structure almost makes them the ‘helicopter’ of the bird world, and if there is one thing that a helicopter can’t do, it is to fly really fast. Read the book that is listed in my profile. I can't say as much as I want here because of space limitations, but I would like to draw your attention to a book that could very well change your outlook on life as you have lived it.

You see, a man/woman must know his/her limitations if the ultimate goal is to be reached. The $64000 dollar question is this. Where is the line really drawn? The only way to find out is to approach it. OK, still feeling safe? You should be because you are still within your self-imposed safety zone. If you think you are on the line, stop for a second. Now take another step. If you are still with me, you have a problem in that the $64000 question still exists. Where is the line really drawn?

Loyalty - The Dead Hero

There are monuments to loyalty everywhere. Small stones, cenotaphs, neatly carved, neatly placed, and all in commemoration of a person or persons lost to loyalty. We are told that the names are of those who gave their lives for freedom.

There is not one person whose name is on a stone who 'wanted' to give up their freedom for others, and it would be churlish of us to honestly believe that. We exalt these persons in the hope that it will free us from guilt, the guilt of having been responsible for sending them to their untimely deaths.

For sure, they are freed from the pain and suffering of the battlefield, but they are also freed of the desire to be back home in the arms of loved ones, the safety of their own home, watching their children grow, and somehow I don't think that they wanted to give those three conditions up so easily. The pain and suffering doesn't end either. It is merely tranferred to those who are left.

We make the decision to go to war with whatever foe, and if we can make that decision, then we can stop it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tell me your sign..

You don't believe in all of that stuff, do you. Mystic Mabel's daily predictions are inevitably vague in their wording, and could not possibly apply to so many people at one time. Yet if you read yours, and it has good stuff in it, tell me that part of you doesn't secretly hope that it comes true. It is only phooey if it doesn't promise much, right?

How many times have you told somebody you see reading a horoscope that you don't believe in it, and then felt left out because they didn't read yours to you?

Astrological character descriptions bear closer scrutiny as they are way more 'up close and personal'. Again, you have to ask yourself how accurate they can be for what must be a huge amount of people born between two dates on the calendar.

Being close to or on the 'cusp' is a useful 'get out clause' as it enables many more characteristics to be factored into your overall profile, essentially covering more exits. All very convenient, isn't it. There are some who say that the 'believer' tries to emulate his/her astrological profile, but would anybody go out of their way to act the negative aspects? I don't think so.

Do I live my life by daily predictions? Is there any truth in them?

Absolutely not!

I can tell you this much. I am practical, prudent, ambitious, disciplined, patient, careful, humorous, and reserved. My positive elements are tempered by slightly more negative aspects, those being that I can be pessimistic, fatalistic, miserly and grudging. People who know me well would tell you that I have always embodied all of the above since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I don't try, and have never tried, to emulate any star sign.

I am what I am, and make no apologies for being so. Draw a line exactly centre through my star sign, and that is where you will find me, and not a 'cusp get out' in sight.

I am Capricorn

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Is there always a light at the end? Common sense dictates that there always is. There are, however, reasons why we can't always see it.
Two scenarios that hold some kind of hope are..
  1. The tunnel is long and the light is presently beyond our visual range..
  2. There is a curve or gradual change of elevation in the tunnel of which we are blissfully unaware..

Not being able to see a light presents us with other possibilities of a more negative nature..

  1. Whoever or whatever we seek at the other end has turned the light off..
  2. We have mistakenly entered a cave..

Endurance, a key factor when negotiating tunnels, can be tempered by many things, the most important being the joy of reaching what we hope will turn out to be a perceptible gain at the other end.

I find myself in a tunnel presently, endurance and faith (yes, we need this too) are not in short supply, and I know that there is a light at the end.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tangle free?

The reality of 'tangle free' cords never quite matches the description on the packaging. Remember the five metre 'tangle free' telephone cord you bought? If it is anything like mine, it is down to an effective length of a metre and a half, and all you have done is picked up the phone a few times.

The guy in the hardware store promised me that the rope by which I am hanging (by my feet) was good quality 'tangle free' stuff. So how is it that I find myself gently rotating? I must look down to the ground below me or I will suffer motion sickness. If I look up, I can see mountains, and the river, a couple of houses over yonder, and fields. Well look at that, horses prancing and running in one of the fields. Isn't that something? And now I see sleepy white clouds drifting over the mountains, their reflections on the river's surface. Wow, how cool is this?

Look back just one time ...............

This is the view backwards, and isn't pretty. The bridge you just crossed is burned out. There is no return presently, but look on the bright side. Actions and decisions that ended in the bridge looking the way it is right now are all on the other side. They can't follow. That is not to say that you can't recreate previous scenarios on this side, but why would you want to do that?

The 'Marseille' Tarot image of the Hanged Man (the picture in my profile) is not as dumb as it might first appear. Essentially, he is giving himself some time to consider the world around him, and the act of hanging by his feet gives him a different perspective from the world as it looked when crossing the bridge and subsequently setting it alight.