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?