Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto 1953 - 2007..


Charismatic, educated, and the first woman to hold high office in an Islamic country, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan had huge popular support on her return to Pakistan. She put herself among her public, knowing only too well that she would be a target.

Embroiled in a financial scandal during her last term as Prime Minister, and with a none too clean record of Human Rights during that term, she was nevertheless an upholder of democracy in Pakistan, and seen as a stabilizing influence by leaders in the 'West'.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thought of the Day

Time and words cannot be recalled even if it was only yesterday

Monday, December 24, 2007

Search For The Truth..

In a small Southern town there was a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. One small feature bothered me. The three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.

At a "Quick Stop" on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, "You damn Yankees never do read the Bible!" I assured her that I did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in my face she said

"See, it says right here, 'The three wise man came from afar.'"

Friday, December 14, 2007

How to make Christmas Cookies..


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Whisky
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups dried fruit
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bottle of Malt Whisky

How to bake the cookies

First you taste the whisky to make sure of its quality

Get out your mixer

Just to be on the safe side, check the whisky again, pour a cup and drink it

Start the mixer and beat the butter until foamy

Add the sugar slowly

Still wondering about the whisky? Hell, try it again, we wanna be sure, don’t we?

Murn off the tixer , mixer I mean

Break the eggs and throw them in the tixer, no no, mixer!!

Then its time for those dumb fruit, toss them in

Any of them get stuck use a screwdriver

Hold it, time to check the whisky, not convinced yet

Now throw in the nuts (make sure no family members get in)

Hey, check whatever else is still lying around and happily throw it in

Ha! Time again for a whiskey check

Grease up the stove and turn it around 380 degrees

Finish the whisky, go to bed, good night

In the morning head for the grocery store and by some cookies

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Modern Parable..

A Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India .

Sadly, The End.

Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US , claiming they can't make money paying American wages.TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US . The last quarter's results: TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses. Ford folks are still scratching their heads.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why I Shouldn't Like You..

As an English Brit, I was brought up with many concepts of others, some of which dated back centuries. Let me tell you now that I do NOT discriminate at all. What I was taught, and what I have learned are two very different animals.

'Never trust the Welsh' came from a diary written by Bishop Gerault of Monmouth, who toured Wales recruiting for the Holy Wars way back in history. He had little good to say about them other than they were savages who could fight well.

The truth is that Welsh people are an ok bunch, and fiercely proud of being Welsh. I have never had a problem with them, so why the continued discrimination?

Scots came in for the same kind of bad press, the Romans having built a wall to stop the savages from roaming south. It didn't stop the English enlisting the help of Lowland Scots in the defeat and massacre of the Highland Scots at Culloden Moor, 1746.

Scotland has produced more than its fair share of very smart people, writers, inventors etc, and one has to admire anybody who can write and invent or have enough imagination in a country as wet and grey as Scotland can be. Like the Welsh, they are fiercely proud of their nation and rightly so. The Scots I know personally are great people, so why the continued discrimination?

Not all Scots and Welsh people are amenable to the English, and they have good reason in my opinion. I took the time to find out for myself what these people were really like, because I couldn't understand the inbuilt dislike that so many English showed. After all, I had a Welsh mother and Scottish grandfather, and they were ok..

Nations across the sea also had honourable mentions.

The French had been traditional enemies for centuries, despite the fact that England owed more to the Normans than anybody else. But the Normans weren't really Gallic at all. They were actually Norsemen who had taken up living in North France. The worst is that the French eat frogs, snails and cheese which smells like old socks, and didn't have proper toilets for the longest time.

Well, hello!! How much worse can frogs, snails and 'old sock' cheese be when compared to Black Pudding and well matured Stilton cheese? Proper toilets didn't see the light of day for a while in England either unless one was 'bloody well off'!! It was a trip out to the end of the back yard in all weather for most Brits, and what was concealed in many a 'backhouse' could not be considered a proper toilet regardless of how far one's imagination stretched.

Germans were and still are a dour bunch who eat Sauerkraut and weird sausages with a very tough skin. They strut around like they own the place and start wars.

Whoa up. That's the Queens family heritage you are talking about. They weren't always called the Windsor's, ya know!! The Brits have strutted every continent on the face of the planet in a style which indicated to natives that they now owned the place. Brits may not have started every war, but they made sure that they had top billing in as many as they could. And anybody who has sampled a great British pickled onion will know the true meaning of sour.

The Spanish eat greasy food, ugly fish and everything tastes of garlic.

This is what comes of the sister of King Philip II of Spain annoying Henry VIII, and the unwillingness of the Spanish to hand over Aztec and Inca gold on demand to the pet pirates employed by Elizabeth I of England. Regarding greasy food, the Brits are champions coming in at first place with the Great British fry up and 'fish and chips', over which one smothers 'red' or 'brown' sauce (tomato ketchup and/or spiced sauce).

Italians can't control their emotions and spend their leisure time picking pockets and offering 'protection' to small business.

Were it not for 'Italians', we would still be living in caves, washing in cold water, and would have no idea what to do with ice cream and a Cadbury Flake. Italy is just brimming with culture, and they have a flair for life that wet and dreary Brits couldn't muster if their lives depended upon it. What is more, Sicilians are not Italian, and it is a brave, 'wannabe dead' Brit who pushes the point. We are just plain jealous. 

As for the rest of you, you must have been too far away or just plain boring to even deserve a mention, but I have heard of fairly gross behaviour by a good many of you. Well, at least we have something in common, and when we finally meet, there will be much to talk over.

Black Pudding? You can use any farmyard animal blood almost, and what you do is add filler like meat, fat, barley, whatever with the blood and you cook it until it is in a state where it can congeal when cooled. Nice, eh!! Want some?

Public Roads?

'Public' roads were not 'invented' for the public. They were not painstakingly funded and constructed by governments such that you or I could easily transport our chickens to market, or make it easier for us to paddle in the sea for a week.


The picture to the right is of a Roman road in Britain. It is now locally known as Blackstone Edge. The Romans would not have quarried the stone or laid any of it, but they would most certainly have overseen construction. They would not have used slave labour either. That would have been far too dangerous. The Romans left Britain around AD 43, and this road is a tribute to their knowledge and ability. You have to wonder how they cajoled the locals into doing this work.

For the public good? Maybe so, but it also enabled them to move troops around quickly if some of the population ever became restless. Unfortunately for the Romans, roads were not enough, resourceful Brits removing the cobbles to use as building materials for small domiciles, hence the lack of Roman roads remaining. They did the same to Hadrian's Wall, it being more important to keep warm in winter than stop marauding bands of Scots as the Romans had endeavoured to do.

The technology was not completely lost, and the Brits re-introduced cobbles later in their history. Cobbles, as pretty as they look are not ideal for road construction, being difficult to walk over in anything but dry conditions for humans and horses.

The breakthrough for transporting heavy stuff and men came with canals. The Industrial Revolution made possible chattels of war made from iron and steel, and the only way these things were ever going to be transported around the land was by using man made rivers, better known as canals. Yes, I know that commercial goods were the main loads carried, but make no mistake here. The primary use would have been to move military stuff.

Canals would have lasted longer had it not been for the adaptation of horse drawn, wooden railroads, to iron rails and the iron horse. However, both means of transport had a major drawback: the incline. Canals needed 'slow to operate' locks to get over obstacles, and railroads were dogged with iron to iron contact between wheel and rail, not good in wet or icy conditions, requiring the construction of cuttings and tunnels in a bid to get over the lack of climbing ability.

The invention of rubber tires, the steam/internal combustion engine and tarmac changed everything. They gave governments what they needed most, a reliable and easy way to move the military around while convincing the people to build them in the belief that it was for all good reasons like moving produce from one place to another. German_Autobahn_1936_1939

Germany is a prime example of this. Hitler commissioned the 'Autobahn' system primarily to facilitate the movement of the military. Constructed in the 1930's, much of the system was so well laid down that it didn't need repairing for decades. This is in stark contrast to highways built in Britain during the 1960's and since, which have required constant repairs, sometimes only weeks after opening.

In fairness, roads in Europe and North America have been used more for commercial good than anything else, and we can be excused for forgetting the original purpose. So, what do you make of the picture below? It is a highway in a country where private vehicle ownership is virtually non-existent, where the movement of commercial goods is virtually non-existent by virtue of the fact that most of the people can't afford anything.

Korean highway

Remove the two vehicles and the cyclist, and what you are looking at here is a temporary airstrip or a road designed for moving either very large vehicles or masses of smaller ones packed with 'military'.

This is a highway near Pyongyang, North Korea. Imagine spending so much on a road which the public do not use. What were they thinking? Maybe something along the same lines as the Romans, almost 2000 years ago?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Geswanouth Slahoot..

Lament for Confederation

How long have I known you, Oh Canada? A hundred years? Yes, a hundred years. And many, many seelanum more. And today, when you celebrate your hundred years, Oh Canada, I am sad for all the Indian people throughout the land.

For I have known you when your forests were mine; when they gave me my meat and my clothing. I have known you in your streams and rivers where your fish flashed and danced in the sun, where the waters said 'come, come and eat of my abundance.' I have known you in the freedom of the winds. And my spirit, like the winds, once roamed your good lands.

But in the long hundred years since the white man came, I have seen my freedom disappear like the salmon going mysteriously out to sea. The white man's strange customs, which I could not understand, pressed down upon me until I could no longer breathe.

When I fought to protect my land and my home, I was called a savage. When I neither understood nor welcomed his way of life, I was called lazy. When I tried to rule my people, I was stripped of my authority.

My nation was ignored in your history textbooks - they were little more important in the history of Canada than the buffalo that ranged the plains. I was ridiculed in your plays and motion pictures, and when I drank your fire-water, I got drunk - very, very drunk. And I forgot.

Oh Canada, how can I celebrate with you this Centenary, this hundred years? Shall I thank you for the reserves that are left to me of my beautiful forests? For the canned fish of my rivers? For the loss of my pride and authority, even among my own people? For the lack of my will to fight back? No! I must forget what's past and gone.

Oh God in heaven! Give me back the courage of the olden chiefs. Let me wrestle with my surroundings. Let me again, as in the days of old, dominate my environment. Let me humbly accept this new culture and through it rise up and go on.

Oh God! Like the thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man's success - his education, his skills - and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society.

Before I follow the great chiefs who have gone before us, Oh Canada, I shall see these things come to pass. I shall see our young braves and our chiefs sitting in the houses of law and government, ruling and being ruled by the knowledge and freedoms of our great land.

So shall we shatter the barriers of our isolation. So shall the next hundred years be the greatest in the proud history of our tribes and nations.


Chief Dan George

Born July 24, 1899

Died September 23, 1981

If you have ever watched the movie 'The Outlaw Josey Wales' you will have seen him in steal the show from the main character, but he did it with such grace and style.. take a look..

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Job Dedication..

The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interviews and testing were done there were 3 finalists, two men and a woman.

For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun.

"We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances. Inside the room you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Kill Her!!!"

"The man said, "You can't be serious, I could never shoot my wife"
The agent said, "Then you're not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home."

The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes.The man came out with tears in his eyes, "I tried, but I can't kill my wife."

The agent said, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."

Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same instructions, to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one after another. Then, they heard screaming, crashing, and banging on the walls.

After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow.

"This gun is loaded with blanks" she said. "I had to beat him to death with the chair."


clip_image001For all of us who are married, were married, wish you were married, or wish you weren't married, this is something to smile about the next time you see a bottle of wine:

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road.

As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car.

Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.

"What in bag?" asked the old woman.
Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband."

The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said:

"Good trade....."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And Still There Are Some Who Maintain That Spelling Is Not Important..

Deer Sir,
I waunt to apply for the secritary job what I saw in the paper. I can Type real quik wit one finggar and do sum a counting.
I think I am good on the phone and no I am a pepole person,  Pepole really seam to respond to me well.
I´m lookin for a Jobb as a secritary but it musent be to complicaited.
I no my spelling is not to good but find that I Offen can get a job thru my persinalety.  My salerery is open so we can discus wat you want to pay me and wat you think that I am werth,
I can start imeditely.  Thank you in advanse fore yore anser. .
hopifuly Yore best aplicant so farr.
Peggy May Starlings
PS : Because my resimay is a bit short - below is a pickture of me taken at my last jobb.

blog writer

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It Has Been Done Before..

First flown in 1929, the British airship R101 crashed in bad weather over France on the morning of October 5th 1930, killing 54 people. Ar101_mastt the time, it was the largest aircraft in the world at 777 feet. Its sister ship, R100, was decommissioned a year later.

The lift gas was Hydrogen, lighter than air but a little volatile to say the least.

The hangar where these two airships were built still stands at Cardington, England.

Did aviators learn from this disaster? No, they did not. The Hindenburg, 808 feet in length and only shorter than the SS Titanic by 78 feet, was started in 1931, but due to financial problems was halted andHindenburg_at_lakehurst not resumed until 1935. May 3rd1937 saw the Hindenburg burst into flames, 36 people losing their lives. It too was filled with Hydrogen, but only because Germany was not allowed Helium by the United States, the only source at the time. It remains today the largest aircraft to ever fly.

It was at this point where it appeared to dawn on the world at large that maybe airships were not the way to travel. Aviators did learn this time, but the dream stayed alive.

No piece on airships would be complete without mention of the Goodyear Blimp. There have actually Goodyear-blimpbeen 300 made since the very first in 1911. The current fleet are roughly 192 feet long, and are used as advertising and photography platforms. They are Helium filled and there has only been one crash, I think.

So, have airships finally found their vocation? Is the dream of a large luxurious airship gone forever? No, it hasn't.

The picture below is an artist impression of the next generation 'lighter than air' aircraft. The general idea is that it will enable 250 people to drift around in consummate luxury, much like R101 and Hindenburg attempted to do years ago. The questions are these. Even though the airship will be Helium filled, would you really want to drift around in an airship larger than most International airport buildings? Would you feel safe watching this thing pass over your house? This is Thunderbird 2 on steroids, a floating 'Canary Wharf'...


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Non-lethal Weapon?

Sixteen deaths in Canada, and one hundred and fifty deaths in the US alone, would suggest that the Taser is anything but non-lethal as claimed. Rules applying to the use of handguns do not apply to the Taser, other than there being some restrictions on how and where they can be carried. Most US states permit the sale of these weapons to the general public.

These weapons have the stopping power of a .357 Magnum. They fire two barbs which remain connected to the weapon by wires. The essence is that the weapon delivers a fifty thousand volt charge over a five second period via the wires and barbs.

The general public have a choice of the gun style as shown in the picture above, or a version which looks more like a flashlight, and in a choice of colors to match ones favorite outfit.

Make no mistake. Despite the claims of the manufacturer, these weapons can kill or be a major factor in the ensuing death of anybody unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In The News..

More garlic?

A guy in Germany is serving a life sentence for practising cannibalism. He claims to be normal, and that he ate a willing candidate found on the Internet. The idea first came into his head after his mother read the story of 'Hansel and Gretel' to him. Well, chum, I remember the story too as will many others, but note how we have not gotten the urge to eat anybody.

It may placate you to know that human flesh is tough, bitter and tastes like pork according to this nut. There is a chance that he could be released after fifteen years as he is claimed not to be mad, but more disturbed. Make a note of today, and fifteen years hence carry a label with you at all times with the words 'Suitable for animal feed only', which you should pin on yourself very quickly in the event that you are approached by a lunatic wielding a knife, fork and spoon.

Alligator Alley

A guy in Florida has been sentenced to death for one failed attempted murder and one success. He befriended a woman and her young child through a church reach out organisation, but lost his cool after being asked to leave the woman's house. He left the house but took the woman and child. Having choked the woman to the point where she was unconscious, leaving her in a field to die, he then took the child to some water alongside Alligator Alley, and dropped her into it. The child was killed by an alligator.

The State will earmark this dude for death by lethal injection, but I think that the mother of the child should decide his fate. I know what I would pick for him, and I would ensure that they crushed more than his skull and remove one arm.

WMD? Do we have any?

Sir, yes Sir. We think that it may have been flown across the country, if the note from the other base is to be believed. Oh believe it for sure. A strategic bomber of the US Air Force flew across the country carrying six nuclear weapons of mass destruction and nobody was aware until the cleaners were sweeping out the airplane?

This is 'Homeland Security'? Guys, you are a greater danger to yourselves and the rest of us than ever the Iranian Black Guard will be.


Never live close by a farm where they breed pigs and chickens. Never live at the end of a busy airstrip. It is way too noisy. Obvious choices of places not to live for sure, but you can add one more place to the list. A farm in Qatar had a patriot drop in from a US military base recently. Nope, not a flag waving soldier or a Qatar patriot. We are talking a Patriot missile, and Qatar is on the side of the US.

The powers at the US base are looking into it, and to make it easier for them, I have some advice. Ask which of the soldiers on the base pressed the button. It may speed up the process somewhat.

A New Writer?

Condoleeza Rice must have a new scriptwriter, because she has actually spoken of a great new idea to solve the Middle East Crisis. The idea is that we give the Palestinians a State all of their own. Yo, Condie, they already did have a place of their own, but Palestine was taken from them and called something else. The Palestinians have been making this point for years, and only now do you and the US Administration catch on?

Of course, the idea is good until one looks at a map of the area. The State of Israel is bordered by Syria, Jordan and Egypt's Sinai Desert. These countries will no more give up part of their territory than Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma would!!

There are still way more days of this administration left to run than there should be.

Monday, October 08, 2007

60 Years Later..

First drawn as a sketch in 1947 by a Dutch auto dealer, it appeared as a panel van and bus in 1950, and as a camper in 1951. Utilizing the same engine and running parts as the 'Beetle', it was never going to be a racer, managing only 62 mph (100km/hr) in ideal conditions, but it was fuel efficient, incredibly tough, and very versatile.

Like the Beetle and Mini, it has remained almost timeless in its original design despite the fact that it has been around for many years.

This is the ubiquitous, world famous Volkswagen T2.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Sneaky Snack-eating Seagull..

The crime rate in Aberdeen, Scotland, has taken an unexpected upturn recently, but this is not the story of just any old 'jail-bird', and the villain will not be doing 'porridge' for his crime. In fact, local people are paying willingly for his dastardly deed.

Sam Seagull is a resourceful, tough character whose criminal act is along the lines of the well known rascal 'Robin Hood'. While Sam does profit somewhat from his crime, he is not averse to sharing his plunder with others of his type and kind.

Seagulls are know to have a diverse diet, including anything in the hand of an unsuspecting human. Fish and chips, sandwiches, ice cream etc are all fair game for a seagull, but they generally wait until a human has purchased the foodstuff.

Sam has decided not to wait for the purchase transaction, taking the law into his own beak by snaffling 'Tangy Cheese' flavored Doritos from a display just inside the door of a local store.

To see Sam in action, click on the link below..

Sam and friends...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Good words to live by

The only people with whom you should try to get even are the people who have helped you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Always remember

Life is not about waiting for the rain to pass on, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thought of the day

Being happy does not mean everything is perfect, it means you have decided to see beyond imperfections.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two Chimps And A Blonde..

A blonde lady motorist was about two hours from San Diego when she was flagged down by a man whose truck had broken down. The man walked up to the car and asked, "Are you going to San Diego?" "Sure," answered the blonde, "do you need a lift?" "Not for me. I'll be spending the next three hours fixing my truck. My problem is I've got two chimpanzees in the back who have to be taken to the San Diego Zoo. They're a bit stressed already so I don't want to keep them on the road all day. Could you possibly take them to the zoo for me? I'll give you $100 for your trouble." "I'd be happy to," said the blonde.

So the two chimpanzees were ushered into the back seat of the blonde's car and carefully strapped into their seat belts. Off they went.

Five hours later, the truck driver was driving through the heart of San Diego when suddenly he was stunned to see the blond woman; she was walking down the street holding hands with the two chimps, much to the amusement of a big crowd. With a screech of brakes he pulled off the road and ran over to her. "What the heck are you doing here?" he demanded, "I gave you $100 to take these chimpanzees to the zoo." "Yes, I know you did," said the blonde," but we had money left over---so now we're going to Sea World.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


.. die Schweiz, la Suisse, Svizzera, actually Confœderatio Helvetica, hence its country code 'CH'. During winter, it is a land of high snow capped peaks and waterfalls frozen in time. Summer sees the lower reaches green, covered in small alpine flowers, the breeze carrying the sound of cow bells. Chalets of all sizes, their balconies festooned with bright flowers, perch on the slopes. It is a remarkably beautiful country. To the right is a picture of a chalet and train on the Jungfrau in winter.
Already visited by many who like to ski, the Swiss Government is eager to draw more tourists, preferably the extremely well off. Architects are being called in to give the Swiss Alps resorts a face lift. The picture to the left is a design said to give the impression of illuminated trees, something I would imagine the surrounding lights do well all by themselves. This example owes less to skiing and more to a 'feel good' health spa of the 'exclusive' kind.

If You Don't Do Heights Well....

Look away NOW!!

Yes, that really is cloud under the deck of the Millau Road Bridge. It is not the tallest bridge in the world, but it is the tallest vehicular bridge, the deck being 803 feet above ground at the second pylon beyond Clermont-Ferrand. It cuts around 61kms off the journey between Clermont-Ferrand and Pézenas, and saves awful congestion in the small town of Millau, all three French towns being en route to the French Riviera and Spain, popular with Parisiens and the Brits during July-August.

Not quite as tall now, but I still don't feel even slightly envious. This is a shot taken looking for'ard of the Tall Ship 'Europa' while she was visiting the Halifax Tall Ship festival, 2007. The crew are demonstrating where not to be in a storm, actually readying to drop sails. The lucky ones get to pull anchor!

The sight is incredible, but one has to remember that sailing like this was not for the faint hearted, and many sailors would have been 'press ganged' into service. The 'Press Gang' would frequent drinking houses, selecting only the fittest of drunks for 'signing on the line'.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Scrumpy and The Marula Tree..

I am a huge fan of YouTube, and spend a reasonable amount of time typing in searches on all kinds of topics. It is amazing what can be found there. Just recently, a video has appeared showing African animals suffering intoxication as a direct result of consuming fallen, rotting fruit of the Marula tree.

It is true that a few animals do like the fruit, but most prefer it fresh. The leaves and bark have medicinal properties, and the skin of the fruit can be made into a coffee like drink. The pulp of the fruit contains way more vitamin C than all other more well known fruits, and the kernels inside release oil which is a good skin treatment.

People living in England's West Country and South West will be well acquainted with the alcoholic drink known as cider. Cider is the processed fluid extracted from apples. It is cleaned up, filtered, and has an appealing golden color. Scrumpy, on the other hand, is the raw product, straight from pressed, fermenting apples. The really strong varieties can knock out even a well seasoned drinker.

So, can animals get drunk eating rotting Marula fruit? The video, made back in 1974, would suggest that they can, but think about it. Eating rotten fruit is more likely to cause stomach upset, which will in turn cause the digestive system to reject it. One would have to consume a fair amount and hold it before fermentation and ensuing drunkeness would follow. Clearly, this would not happen, and in the case of elephants who actually prefer the fruit fresh from the trees, the amount of water also consumed by them would dilute the alcohol content to the point where it would have zero effect.

In the same way as rotting apples are used for Scrumpy and cider, rotting white grapes are used in the production of Sauternes wine. The vineyards call it the 'noble rot' which sounds better. I doubt that anybody eating rotten grapes has ever suffered drunkeness before having to use 'bathroom' facilities.

It would appear that the 'funny' video clip was in fact a staged event, and would not be allowed these days.

I can see that I have your mouths watering for a glass o' scrumpy, so here is a traditional Devon recipe.


  • 12 pounds apples
  • 1/2 pound raisins
  • 1/2 pound raw meat
  • 1 gallon water at 70 degrees
  • champagne yeast (tradition calls for bakers yeast)


  1. Chop and grind the apples and raisins. These days a food processor will do the trick
  2. Use a brewing barrel with an airlock
  3. Put the ground apples and raisins into the water with the chopped meat.
  4. Stir thoroughly
  5. Add the yeast and seal the brewing barrel with the airlock.
  6. Everyday swirl the barrel to stir the ingredients.
  7. After the first fermentation slows, about 8-10 days, move to a similar vessal for seconary fermentation. If you like a dry cider, add a second dose of yeast to the secondary fermentation.
  8. Seal with an airlock.
  9. Let it sit until it the fermentation slows to a very slow, almost imperceptible bubble.
  10. Move to a carboy to let the heavier particles settle out.
  11. Let it sit for about a week and bottle.
The scrumpy should be left to mature for at least four months, and if left for a year will mellow out quite nicely.

One glass and the world seems a better place, two glasses and you probably do not remember.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

High Speed Food?

The idea is that you order your food using the 'touchscreen', pay with a 'pre-paid' plastic card, and then sit and wait for your meal to negotiate the 'helter skelter'.
It would be interesting to see how this system copes with an order for a glass of iced water and slice of lemon!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A National Icon? Almost..

Anybody travelling the highways of Spain will have seen one of these. It is a very large billboard advert for Grupo Osborne, wine and spirits producer. It has no wording on it because a law was passed some years ago banning roadside advertising, and the lettering was painted out. Later, there was a move to take all of them down, but after a 'spirited' campaign by the Osborne company where over 70% of people asked thought that they were a national icon, it was decided to leave them standing. They are the largest bulls anywhere, standing a little over 40' tall.

If over 70% said yes, that would indicate over 20% saying no. Most of the 20% and more live in the Cataluña region, where it has become the target of separatist groups.

Hungarian Goulash

Every family has it's own variation on this Austro-Hungarian dish. This is just one variation, and we are sure that it will satisfy..


  • ¼ cup shortening (such as half butter and half light olive oil)
  • 4 cups of coarsely chopped onions
  • 2 lb of chuck beef, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 small tomato. chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika, make that genuine sweet Hungarian paprika SZEGED
  • 1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 large raw potatoes, cubed


  1. In a heavy 2½ quart saucepan heat the fat, add the onions and cook until golden brown
  2. Add the tomato, green pepper, paprika, beef and salt
  3. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the meat loses its redness
  4. Reduce the heat and add the water, cover and simmer 1½ hours
  5. Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about one more hour. If necessary add some water during cooking
  6. Remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste

    Serve with fresh French bread and red wine.. serves 5 - 6

Your meal may not look exactly like the illustration..

Making The Environment Look Better..

Are you ready?

  1. Pick a narrow road passing through a pretty English village.
  2. Sit in conference for weeks, months, years even.
  3. Present the findings and plans to local residents.
  4. Take steps to ensure that as few as possible learn about them.
  5. Pass the plans regardless of any opposition.
  6. Secure funding, and organise the work detail.
  7. Tell the Public Works Department to start.

'Give way to oncoming vehicles'

A Job Well Done

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thought of the day

When you don't know what you want, you may end up where you don't want to be.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Coal is in the news..

.. but for all of the wrong reasons. Coal mining, in fact any kind of mining, has always been a dangerous occupation, and we owe a great deal to the people who are prepared to do it.

Coal fuelled the Industrial Revolution, and is still the primary fuel used in the generation of electricity. A small coal fired power station can generate far more power than any other type. It is the most efficient fuel, and there is a huge stock of coal around. The problem is getting to it and then extracting it.

Coal is formed by the laying down of forests, fallen trees gradually covered over and compressed. By the very nature of where trees grow and the fact that they need a substantial layer of topsoil, the levels at which coal is found tend not to be too secure. Coal seams are trapped between what was once a relatively loose surface, and the extraction of coal renders the surrounding material back to its loose state quite easily.

Accidents are all too common in mines around the world, the fate of the six miners and nine rescuers in Utah and the one hundred and seventy two presently trapped in a Chinese mine adding to a long list of brave souls who risk their lives daily such that our lives are more bearable.

Below is a link to the mining history of just one small corner, but it will give you an insight into the lives of miners. Please take the time to look through the site, read the poems and stories of the miners from South Wales (Britain), whose lives reflect the life of miners worldwide.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A wish for all my friends

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green stoplights on your way to work.
The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good sing-along song on the radio.
Your keys found right where you left them.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thought of the day

Even if I have pains, I don't have to be one.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Global Warming..

For those of us who have read about the Ice Age, global warming should come as no surprise. Where once there were glacier 'fingers' extending across most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, there are now cities, farms, industrial parks etc. The ice has undoubtedly receded over time. So what is the big deal regarding global warming now? Surely it is just a natural cycle running its course? To the North of me, large pieces of glacier are breaking off, but they always have, hence no glacier for a good few thousand years where I now live.

Weather patterns do seem to be different to when I was a child, and there also appears to be more seismic and volcanic activity now. Can this also be put down to global warming in as much as more heat at the surface raises the temperature at lower levels?

I live in an area where it is said that the ozone layer above is depleted. Is this why the black parts of my vehicle are looking decidedly 'bleached' to a grayish color? If the Sun's rays are doing this, what is the effect on other things? I do believe that our world is warming up, and that we and many other species will be, and in some cases already are adversely affected. What to do next?

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, we have been on a path that seems to have speeded up the process of global warming. We are victims of our own success. It will not be easy to give up the spoils. Even the livestock herders of Mongolia put out the solar panels first thing in the morning so that they can watch TV. Theirs is the clean end. The company transmitting TV can't rely totally on solar panels for its power.

Wind power helps, but nobody wants the generators in their own backyard. Nuclear power substitutes one problem for another. Solar power is not overly effective in countries like Britain. Fossil fuel burning is of course a huge no-no. The use of cars, trucks, and airplanes is not helping the cause, but our reliance on them is so great.

There are ideas being thrown into the pot. The first is to put brakes on the developing world such that we can still maintain our own standards while appearing to be doing something about the problem. There are plans to put iron in the oceans which will promote algae growth, which in turn will consume Carbon Dioxide. There are designs for strange ships fitted with enormous upward facing tubes and gadgetry that will apparently help. A more arcane plan is to erect a sun shield in space.

Slowing the effects of global warming will be our biggest battle, and we will lose ultimately because our planet has been warming up for the longest time without any intervention from us. All we have done is reduce the time it will take for the warming cycle to run its course. We don't know just how bad it will all get, but one thing is for sure, the creation of mountains, valleys, gorges, lakes and oceans must have been cataclysmic and most definitely not conducive to easy living.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Monster Truck Madness..

.. turned into Monster Truck Mayhem after nine people were injured, two seriously, while watching an event organized by the NAPA auto parts store in Dekalb, Illinois.

These vehicles do shows around the country, drawing in crowds, very often 'all the family', who appear to get a sense of enjoyment out of watching a lumbering, clumsy, over sized four wheel drive 'truck' crush cars and smash through mobile homes/trailers. All exciting stuff, for sure. The picture above and to the right shows an event of the type seen in Dekalb.

The official shows are well organized, and the crowd is protected as well as one can, bearing in mind that these vehicles, huge tires, four wheel drive, engines around 575 cubic inches and fuelled by methanol can more or less climb any barrier or fence.

Many feel that anything to do with motor sports is just an accident waiting to happen, and it has to be said that an event of the type held in Dekalb, Illinois fits the description perfectly. No large arena, no proper protective barriers, and a crowd blissfully unaware of the danger, seeing only the 'excitement'.

Motor sport is dangerous for the drivers, pit crews, event marshalls, and spectators. When attending events, be aware of the dangers. Stand at a distance that you feel is safe, taking into account factors like how fast you could get out of the way of danger if infirm or when you have small children in your care. An 'out of control' vehicle does not recognize barriers, and there is very little that the driver can do about it. There are safety features built into racing vehicles, but they do not always work as well as they might, and rarely do they enable a vehicle to come to an abrupt stop.

In the Dekalb incident, what happened to members of the crowd was bad enough, but it could have been much worse, the vehicle having crashed through a fence, finally coming to rest on railroad tracks.

Next time you and your family go to a motor sport event, enjoy the spectacle, color, noise, but do it from a safe distance and apart from keeping your eyes on the action, keep your eyes on your family too.

Have a great day and may all go well for you.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sink Holes..

Cavers love them, as do divers when they fill with water. Many occur naturally where Limestone is present, and are caused by underground water erosion. They also occur when we pump too much water from the water table, if there is leakage from man made water supply and sewage pipes, or as a result of deep mining.

They are a threat to homes and cities and also become a threat to water supplies if they fill up with water from rain. We sometimes use them as landfill, so worsening the effects of them filling with rainwater which then seeps into the water table we rely on so much for fresh supplies.
Sink holes vary in size, and can increase in size, a particularly bad trait if they occur in a city. This little beauty recently appeared in Guatemala City. It is said to be some 330 feet deep, twice as deep as the Statue of Liberty is tall. One has to wonder how the City authorities will deal with it. Worse still, will it increase in size? More could appear.

It is said that one hears rumbling before a sink hole creation. I would imagine that it is difficult to tell exactly where a sink hole will appear. One thing is sure, the people of Guatemala City will have to be very careful.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Credibility Is Not Just What You Say..

It also relies on 'delivery', as any good comedian will tell you. An example.......

Fool me once (pause for thought) shame on (pause for thought) shame on you (pause for thought)

Fool me, you can't get fooled again..

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


A married couple was in a terrible accident where the man's face was severely burned. The doctor told the husband that they couldn't graft any skin from his body because he was too skinny.

So, the wife offered to donate some of her own skin. However, the only skin on her body that the doctor felt was suitable would have to come from her buttocks. The husband and wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and they requested that the doctor also honor their secret. After all, this was a very delicate matter.

After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the man's new face. He looked more handsome than he ever had before! All his friends and relatives just went on and on about his youthful beauty!

One day, he was alone with his wife, and he was overcome with emotion at her sacrifice. He said, "Dear, I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. How can I possibly repay you?" "My darling," she replied, "I get all the thanks I need every time I see your mother kiss you on the cheek."

Zodiac signs do matter..

All of his life Ole had heard stories of an amazing family tradition.

It seems that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been able to walk on water on their 21st birthday.

On that day, they'd walk across the lake to the boat club for their first legal drink.

So when Ole's 21st birthday came around, he and his pal Sven took a boat out to the middle of the lake.

Ole stepped out of the boat and nearly drowned! Sven just managed to pull him to safety.

Furious and confused, Ole went to see his grandmother.

"Grandma, it's my 21st birthday, so why can't I walk across the lake like my father, his father, and his father before him?"

Granny looked into Ole's eyes and said,

"Because, you idiot, your father, grandfather and great-grandfather were born in January; you were born in July!

Monday, July 30, 2007


Purdue University has recently released a computer generated animation showing the second aircraft involved in the 9/11 Twin Towers incident. It attempts to show the kind of damage that the airplane would have caused as it travelled through the tower. Don't expect anymore than that. Maybe the hope is that we will watch it and convince ourselves that the damage suggested was enough to bring down the towers.

The University took experience from the work done back in 2002 on what happened at the Pentagon, and this is a computer generated image from that time. It leaves more questions than it answers. The initial damage seen at the Pentagon was a 16' diameter hole at ground level, presumably made by the nose of the airplane as it entered the building. The image to the right would put the entry hole further up the building than actual pictures of the day showed. The building did not collapse, as shown in the next picture taken on the day, until almost an hour and a half after the initial impact.

The engines would have left some kind of trail across the lawn, but they did not. The lawn was as pristine after the event as it was before. So why did trucks come in and dump gravel all over the lawn? What was being hidden? One obvious thing missing from any pictures taken on the day is airplane wreckage.

Purdue, what are you trying to tell us? Is the purpose of your computer generated images to re-enforce the 'official' line, are you trying to tell us something else, or just hedging your bets on whatever truth is finally revealed at some point in the future?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thought of the day

A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.

William James (1842 - 1910)

Remember the Chinese Buns?

Maybe you do, and maybe you don't, so a quick recap is in order..

A Chinese reporter ran a story about some kind of bun that was being made with a mixture of 40% fatty meat and 60% mashed cardboard. There was even a photo of a 'bun operative' preparing the major ingredient.

This story, in light of others escaping China about zero-quality goods, came as no real surprise in the true sense of surprises. Nevertheless, the Chinese Government refuted it, and told the world that they had jailed the offending reporter for fraudulently making up the story after having been put under pressure by his bosses to come up with something.

In deference to the above, I deleted my 'take' of it from this blog. However, it has come to light that the guy may have been jailed for telling the truth. The Chinese are a little sensitive about how their products are reviewed, and want them only to be seen in a good light. China recognises that attempts to get into world markets with cardboard buns is not going to work well for them, but maybe for reasons to which they are oblivious.

The simple truth is that we already have food items with the consistency and flavor of cardboard, so you guys can keep making yours, and we will keep making ours. Deal?

Banco Di America.. ¿este bien?

A conversation between a Customer and Bank of America Bank:

This is the Bank of America, can I help you?

Customer: Yes, I want to cancel my account. I don't want to do business with you any longer.

Bank: Why?

Customer: You're giving credit to illegal immigrants and I don't think it's right. I'm taking my business elsewhere.

Bank: Well, Mr. Customer, we don't want to see you do that, but we can't stop you. I'll help you close the account. What is your account number?

Customer: (gives account number)

Bank: For security purposes and for your protection, can you please give me the last four digits of your social security number?

Customer: No.

Bank: Mr. Customer, I need to verify your information, but in order to help you, I'll need verification of who you are.

Customer: Why should I give you my social security number? The reason I'm closing my account is that your bank is issuing credit cards to illegal immigrants who don't have social security numbers. You are targeting that audience and want their business. Let's say I'm an illegal immigrant and you've given me a credit card. I have a question about it and call for assistance. You wouldn't be asking me for a Social Security number, would you?

Bank: No sir, I wouldn't.

Customer: Why not?

Bank: Because you would have pressed '2' to speak in Spanish. We don't ask for that information when someone is calling in on the Spanish line.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Grocery Store..

.. for Madeline Byrne of North Carolina (pictured right). A local Sheriff posted a summonsTHROUGH HER OPEN CAR WINDOW to appear for jury duty WITHIN THE HOUR or face contempt. No matter that the lady may have had commitments already!!

I remember jury duty only too well. The first job was to draw straws to see who would be jury foreman, the one that delivers the jury's verdict. It is a brave person indeed who would willingly take the position, especially if the supporters of the guy in the dock all look like they are directly related to Big Foot.

Sitting in the jury box, apart from being in direct view of the public gallery, could be quite boring. Seating was akin to church pews, with only a small flattened cushion to soften. The judge would tell us not to judge by appearances, but only to take into account the evidence from both sides. Prosecution and Defence counsel had a habit of talking in language that one usually associates with the small print on an insurance claim form.

The fun part of jury service is the private deliberation session. The court usher advises that refreshments will be provided. We all sit down. Somebody please start us off. OK, first problem is getting over the size and appearance, not of the guy in the dock who looks guilty as all hell, but of his supporter who sits in the middle of the unholy looking bunch, the one with the hair, and 6'7" before he stands up.

Is it any wonder that people do not want to serve on juries. Asking for protection just gets the same answer. "We can't do anything unless they do something first".

Very reassuring, huh..

In Line With One Of The Most Arcane Theories Yet..

A reminder of the theory.. "The reason we start a war is to fight a war, win a war, thereby causing no more war!"

Apparently, the Bush administration is preparing to ask congress to approve arms sales over the next decade to States in the Gulf. This is an obvious first step. One can't realistically start a war without first appropriating the chattels of war.

The actual 'fighting a war' involves convincing the military and families that there is a just cause. Easy enough, one creates a just cause. Winning a war is a little more difficult and requires us to accept a level of collateral damage. Collateral damage has two forms, the innocent who get in the way, and the families of the 'heroes', those whom have been convinced that a war is justified.

I don't know about you, but I find the last part of the theory to be incomprehensible.

In the case of the 'War on Terror', collateral damage is proving to be something of a brickbat. Under normal circumstances, the 'loss' of some 30,000 troops would be a small price set against keeping the home population in line and on side. Unfortunately, the collateral damage has come to the attention of the home and international crowd because the damage is growing by the day, and with no end in sight.

What better way then, than to arm all of the Gulf States to the teeth and let them do the fighting. It is a tried and trusted method, well maybe not entirely trusted because arms were sold to Saddam Hussein and he didn't use them for the intended purpose. What a bad boy!!

Hopefully, the new lot will be more amenable to sticking by the rules, and we can all sleep safe at night again.

Tell me that there isn't a camera and crew around someplace. C'mon, this is all a joke, isn't it. Somebody is going to put their arm around me and tell me to look at the trash can. Yes, I see the camera now. You had me fooled for sure. NOT..

Little Wonder That He Looks Happy..

A lapdog for ten years, and now they are paying for his kennel? A trust fund set up for him by the US Government?

The thousands of families directly affected by the 'War on Terror' must really like this one. They are having to deal with the loss of a loved one, either through death or because the returning soldier is so physically and/or emotionally destroyed, and Blair gets a pukka post, having deserted his own government.

Thousands of Iraqis have died too, women, children, and all because Laughing Boy (in the picture) and his mates on Capitol Hill decided that they would go after Al Qaeda, the terrorist organisation they claim was responsible for 9/11. Iraqi civilians are dying because Al Qaeda were responsible for 9/11, ALLEGEDLY.

No, I didn't make a typo here. I'll pass it by you again, and you can see how close the spelling is.. Al Qaeda - Iraqi Civilians. See? Hardly any difference.

Blair, Bush and Cheney have yet to prove that Al Qaeda had any involvement in 9/11, lack of proof further backed up by the fact that they went after a completely different target, passing us off with the excuse that it had to be done anyway. These three have committed atrocities against their own countries, people, brave soldiers and against the people of Iraq who truly believed that the West wanted to help them. They gotten suckered in just like everybody else.

It must be heart warming for some that two of the three are still in power and that the third is being protected by them. For the rest of us, it sickens to the stomach.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It Would All Be Too Funny..

.. if it wasn't for the fact that the lunatic statements made by a variety of governments didn't have such dire consequences for the rest of us.

The US is now blaming Iran for the accuracy of mortars fired into the Green Zone. Has it occurred to anybody on Capitol Hill that these guys may just be getting better by their own efforts? Most probably it has but that wouldn't garner support for maintaining and/or escalating the war in the Middle East.

North and South Korea are at serious odds over FISH? Is this what the 50 year or so standoff has been about?

Pakistan is now happy to announce that it has cruise missile technology which enables it to strike deep into Indian territory.

Well, these news snippets will help us all sleep better at night.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007


.. you were CEO of a company, and you made some totally dumb statement not just once but multiple times, or pursued policies that appeared to be flawed even in the minds of the criminally stupid, you would lose your job. You would suffer public humiliation to the point where crawling under an inconspicuous rock would be heaven.

Public figures, those high up on pedestals for whatever reason, seem to believe that they have immunity, that they deserve special treatment. The public can be a tough audience, and a performer of any kind is judged only on the last performance.

Lindsay Lohan has recently been busted on a DUI charge. Ms Lohan has only just finished treatment at a 'rehab' clinic, a short period of time where she appears to have taken nothing too seriously. She would do well to learn from Paris Hilton's recent experiences, but not to follow in exactly the same footsteps.

Paris did end up doing here time, but what did she really learn from it. Her attempt at being 'religious' fell somewhat flat during an interview with Larry King. She claimed that she read her Bible when incarcerated. She claimed to be religious, having attended a Catholic school. She couldn't remember her favorite passage from the Bible. She hasn't learned how to be truthful yet, to others or herself.

Onward and upward. Butch Bush and Sundance Cheney are both having fun in the sun, and more so since their overall popularity is so low that it doesn't matter what they do anymore. These two guys are so above the law as to defy belief. Nobody can tell me that there were not warning signs of what was to come. Take a good look at this statement, made during Butch's first presidential debate.

"The reason we start a war is to fight a war, win a war, thereby causing no more war!"

For more like this, click on the 'How to create an angry American" video in this blogs basement.

I have just one question. Why are Butch and his sidekick still gainfully employed as leaders of the most powerful nation on earth?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thought of the day

The American Indian found out what happens when you don't control immigration.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


This is one of many depictions of the 'Garden of Eden'. There are also differing views regarding the location. You can see that this depiction shows the people as being 'white Caucasian', highly unlikely at best.

Every religion has its own 'Eden', and it always looks so good.

Darfur, 2nd Millennium A.D

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Take A Walk Around Your Neighborhood..

.. before deciding what vehicle to buy or exchange for the one presently owned. Look at what others are driving. If you want to be different, get a similar model but in bright pink. A man living in a Washington DC area didn't heed this advice. In fairness to him, he probably was never given it, or considered it so important. Bright pink would not have saved his new vehicle.

It lasted five days on the street before two masked men took a bat to every window, a knife to each 38-inch tire and scratched into the body: "FOR THE ENVIRON."

Welcome to the land of the free, home of the brave..

Free Speech Zones.. Only In America..

Well, not only in America. Venezuela maybe? North Korea, China, and all of the countries where human rights are low on the agenda?

A 'Free Speech Zone' is an area that your local police department has set aside as being a safe place for you to speak freely. It will be set aside from the 'Free Speech Zone', maybe even hidden from general view.

Why two 'Free Speech Zones'? Simply because there is 'Free Speech' and there is 'Free Speech'. I can hear you say that 'Free Speech' is 'Free Speech', and you would be right on all counts.

Your government grants you 'Free Speech'. You feel better because of it. 'Free Speech' is good, and it is your constitutional right.

To get into a 'Free Speech Zone', you need to be in possession of something that makes a statement. You can wear something that has a slogan imprinted on it, or carry a flag or placard. The message being projected by any of these means will determine whether you get access to the 'Free Speech Zone' or the 'Free Speech Zone'.

Hmmmm. The constitutional right to 'Free Speech' is not what a 'Free Speech Zone' is all about. Remember the 'Animal Farm' wall slogan? 'All animals are equal'. The wall slogan was extended later to include 'but some animals are more equal that others'. The US concept of 'Free Speech' works in much the same way, where 'Free Speech is good, but some 'Free Speech' is better than other 'Free Speech'.

Content is what determines whether you are ushered to a 'Free Speech Zone' or a 'Free Speech Zone'. In the event that 'Free Speech' might not televise too well, or maybe give a bad impression to a public reasonably convinced that they have the right to 'Free Speech', your 'Free Speech Zone' will be set at a safe distance and out of camera view. Determined efforts at 'creating a bad impression' generally result in being moved to a far more claustrophobic 'Free Speech Zone', often with no view to the outside at all.

Countries not having formally designated 'Free Speech Zones' include Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

All of the above countries have laws in place to limit damage should they feel the need but, at the same time, they do not deliberately lie to the people about how free they are either. People in the above countries receive a much broader education that allows them to gauge their own personal freedom against the freedom of others. They are educated to think 'outside the box', not blindly accept the contents as being the 'be all and end all'

Wake up, America. The world needs you, but not in your present form.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Word of the day

Hope is the only good that is common to all men, those who have nothing else still possess hope.

Thales of Miletus

The Result Of An Excrutiatingly Bad Hair Day..

Friday, July 13, 2007

If You Are Wondering..

.. what happened to all of the ideas and to-do lists of the guy for whom you voted, look no further..

Questions For Creationists..

.. from a somewhat bemused resident of the North American continent.

When Noah and his wife visited Canada to pick up a male and female of each resident animal, the task was made easy in some instances because a male Moose, for example, has a large set of antlers and the female doesn't.

Skunks are a whole different ballpark, and one has to be brave to take on the job of 'sexing' one of these critters. Also, when he was dropping them back off after the great flood subsided, would it have been possible to have inadvertently mixed the country codes on the tags or inventory listing. Should Canada have gotten the Kangaroos, and Australia the Skunks maybe? What safeguards were in place, if any at all?

If the voyage to pick up all animals was a long one, how did he cope with the inevitable Moose rut? Nobody in their right mind gets within a mile or more of a male Moose intent on 'rutting'. And just one more question for now. How did he or his wife stop the beavers from eating their way out through the hull of the ark?

High Rise.. High Fear..

Do you have a natural fear of heights? Does your mind fill with ideas of the part where you are standing or sitting snapping off and falling? Some people get all giddy if they just lift one foot too high off of the floor, so do not be ashamed. The top part of all modern high structures move around a little bit. They are designed that way otherwise the top would indeed snap off.

One of the worst fears that any of us have is fire. In 1974, a movie was released called 'The Towering Inferno'. Badly constructed, using cheap 'below spec' materials, we watched the unfolding drama of people trapped high above ground level, some perishing, some not. Right at the end, the fire chief tells the buildings owners/designers that maybe they should get guidance from the fire department about constructing buildings where normal firefighting equipment is less than useless. It made me think at the time and, during subsequent visits to high rise buildings, the events of the movie lurked uneasily in the back of my mind. I found it difficult to shake the image of the burned out shell left standing.

We have all seen news reports of buildings around the world savaged by fire, and they all look the same, windows shattered, dark marks left by flames and smoke, eerily empty. The question as to what to do with what is left must be a problem. Is it cheaper to re-construct, or maybe to knock it all down and start over? Whatever the decision, it must first be established that the building is essentially in a safe enough state for any work to begin.

Modern design is such that construction materials used can withstand fires, wind, high impacts and even earthquakes, the weakest link being furnishings et al introduced by whoever uses the spaces inside the building. These items are generally not fireproof, and they are loose. In the event of an earthquake for instance, not only does the building shift, but so do all of the interior fittings and in a wild random manner.

If we can't prevent destructive events, what can we do to make the aftermath more easy? How would you feel about working or living in a high rise building if you knew that it had been rigged, such that in the event of a fire, it could be demolished within the hour, so saving days, weeks and months of either re-constructing or removal? It is way easier to 'rig' a building while it is still in a good state of repair. Moving debris from ground level has to be a better option than sending demolition experts and firemen into buildings where the general integrity may be severely compromised.

Fire damaged high rises never fall of their own volition because the fire is never hot enough to melt the steel used and could never be hot enough unless pure oxygen is fed directly into the fire. It has always been possible to fix the buildings afterwards.

The idea of rigging is insanity itself. Ask yourself honestly if anybody would ever sanction such a crazy idea. Lets face it, when was the last time you saw a high rise building suffer a fire and fall as a direct result of the fire damage?

Do you need help thinking back? How safe do you feel now?

Breaking News Friday, July 13, 2007..

An 23 year old Iraqi journalist working for the New York Times was shot and killed on his way to work.

Bill Keller, executive editor, said of journalists working in Baghdad, “Without them, Americans’ understanding of what is happening on the ground in Iraq would be much, much poorer.”

To Mr Keller: Could you please send a complimentary copy of your newspaper to the White House just so that the guys there know what is happening in Iraq too?

A Final Admission..

.. but isn't there something missing here?

The White House has admitted that it was 'behind the CIA leak'. At the time of the 'leak', G W Bush promised that the 'leaker' would be found and punished. So what happened next? Well, not a whole hell of a lot except that Lewis Libby was busted for obstructing justice. Whatever justice he was obstructing has still not been made public, as we still do not have the name or the head of the 'leaker'. Even that may not be true. Maybe we do have the name and the head but we just don't realize it!

To ensure better sleeps at night, G W Bush has pardoned Lewis 'Fall Guy' Libby. Meanwhile, the 'leaker' is still out there somewhere. All is ok though, because G W Bush says it is time to move on.

In my own opinion, and maybe that of a few others, it is a great pity that he didn't adopt the same attitude with Iraq's former leader. In his last speech to his indulgent audience, he talked of the progress made in Iraq. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I doubt that the man knows a thousand words, but here is a 'progress' picture anyway.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It Makes One Wonder..

How many people think that a 'Deer Crossing' sign at the side of the road is so that the deer know where to cross?

When a Customs Officer asks if anybody has put something in your luggage without your knowledge, how does he/she expect you to know?

When a child is having a tantrum in a public place, why does a mother invariably say 'stop acting like a child'?

When ordering a take out Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato sandwich, why are we asked if we want bacon, lettuce, and tomato on it?

Why do people always address the person pushing the wheelchair, never the person in it?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's Time To Play Again..

The first picture shows a smoke plume. It's of the type you may have seen for real or on TV where there has been an explosion caused by an explosive device, maybe plastic explosive or dynamite. Notice how the smoke cloud is rapidly starting to 'detach' itself, that is to say, there is little follow up smoke or anything else directly below it. This is a very different kind of plume that comes from an explosion and subsequent fire at an oil refinery, airplane disaster or store fire, where a much blacker smoke and flames are seen rising to quite a height and for an extended period dependant upon the amount of combustible material at the site.
The second picture is of a site where, again, some destructive force has left its mark. There is evidence of smoke and heat, again left by some small explosion. Part of the ground looks a little charred, but grass directly around the area has suffered little or no damage. Some soil has been piled up, and it is plainly obvious that something has been 'going down' here.

The third picture is an expanded view of the second, and again does not show that much has happened here at all. There is smoke in evidence, but were you to take a quick glance at a place like this, you might consider at best that a small fire maybe gotten out of hand but has been put out.

OK. Time for the game. Looking only at the second and third pictures, can you spot anything in them that would lead you to believe that a full sized, twin engined Boeing airliner carrying passengers and luggage crashed here? If you are wondering why I am putting this question to you, the answer is simple.

These pictures are not just anyplace. These pictures are of the Shanksville, Pennsylvania Flight 93 crash site, taken not too long after the event. Have you ever seen an airplane crash site so devoid of wreckage? Cast you mind back to any news item where an airliner has crashed into a mountain, or anyplace other than the crash sites of September 11, 2001 and honestly tell me that they were the same as this.

The first picture of the smoke plume is so unlike any other emanating from a crashed airliner still with half of its fuel load onboard, and yet we are told that it was, and we are expected to believe what we are told. Do your eyes tell you the same story as you were fed at the time?

Flight 93, according to United Airlines, landed at Cleveland Airport a while after it apparently crashed at Shanksville.

If Flight 93 did NOT crash here, and did land where United believe it to have landed, then it follows that the passengers on board of Flight 93 did not perish at Shanksville either. So if they didn't die here, where was their place of execution.

More to the point, who were their executioners?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Time on the beach

While I waked along the beach today, a few words of Longfellow came to my mind:

Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thought of the day

Of all acts of man, repentance is the most divine. The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.

Thomas Carlyle

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Next Time You Get Into Your Car..

.. think about what you are doing, or about to do.. the consequence can be tragic..

Sunday, June 17, 2007

From Out Of The Mouths..

If ever you want a family secret made public, the one surefire way is to ensure that your kids overhear it. The innocence of youth precludes taking into account 'responsibility' and, in many ways, what kids say can be quite endearing but now and again, it can all go very wrong.

Take the case of the Matriarch and young son seeing off 'Pater'. All has not been well of late, but appearances are there to be kept, so the father gets into his car and backs out of the driveway, the matriarch waves just like everyday and half shouts 'Bye, see you later'. The young son follows up with 'Bye, loser'. No guesses for the source here.

It is a good thing that actions speak louder than words. In the next case, we have a Matriarch and young son who having been visiting grandparents, and are about to be met at the airport by 'Pater'. The final instruction to the young son before disembarking (no pun intended) was this. "Now, remember ... run to Dad first, THEN the dog."

Is it the same family? I am not telling..

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Answer Is Out There..

.. but is it the right answer, the answer we want to hear, or the answer that they want us to believe? The answer could be any combination of the three conditions.

OK. It's quiz time, but before you look at the questions, I would like you to view a video clip. If you live near an airport, or are a frequent flier, you will have seen something similar many times, but still take a look.

I will never cease to be impressed watching stuff like that. Now, you are ready to take the quiz. As with all questions, read them thoroughly, and not just once. Ensure that you understand each question before answering.

So, how did you make out? 5 of 5? If you passed on any, I have some more for you to read and look through.

Some reading for you..

.. and another video clip to watch..

For more on that day, visit our video bar in the basement, the second of the two.

The events of that day have changed the lives of everybody on the planet. There were events that happened behind the scenes before that day still begging the question "why did they do that?". There were events that happened after the initial strikes that beg the same question. If you come to the conclusion that I did, you are most probably scared too.

If all of the above was staged to get us 'in the mood' to accept the now discredited propaganda that took us to war with Saddam Husseins Iraq, it most surely worked. The worst is that it could work again, and maybe you or somebody you know will be on the next death roll.