Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog Change

No Music Track this week as I'm making a slight change in the blog format.  I get a lot of comments in my email box about the Right Track and Trevor's Tirade each week.  All of them are from like-minded people, as the others don't seem to like to expose themselves.  But until now each week's post in these two categories disappear as I wipe them out and replace them.  So from tomorrow, I'll be posting them in the normal format so they will always be available in the archives.  Also each page now will hold 14 posts instead of seven, so it's easier to locate an item if you want.  If you have other suggestions please let me know at

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Tomorrow is Frankie and Johnny's birthday.
They will be eight years old - 56 in human years.

We collected them when they were four months, and they have been a constant joy in our lives.  Frankly I don't know how people can live without dogs as they are so special - especially these two.

When we went to the breeder, there was a little girl there - their sister.  She was promised to some people down the hill, and she was very nice - quite smaller than the boys.  We named the boys because Hurricane Juan had just come through the South East and one of the boys was decidedly naughty, so he was called Juan.  We anglicised it and he became Johnny - Frankie was a natural follow on.  Now let's say that we had gone really soft and taken the little girl too.  I wonder what we would have called her.  Two little puppies in the house in deep mid-winter was a strain; can you imagine what three would have been like?  So what would have been a good name for the little girl.  Email me at with your suggestions.

Frankie and Johnny - the Official Birthday Portrait!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pubs - 1

Most of you know that I'm very fond of pubs.  Since I was able to get into them in my teens - often using a CCF (ROTC) uniform to build an extra year or two onto my age - I've been enjoying them.  They are after all "Public Houses," which is how they got the shortened name "pubs."  I find there is an interest in the subject out here but many of the rules have altered in this outpost of what was once a colony.  So for the next few weeks, I'll try and give some reason for these institutions of warmth and comfort.  Oh yes, they also sell adult beverages; however, drinking is not really the main reason for using pubs, it's a lot more social than that, as we shall see.  As they say, stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Steller's Jay

This is a Steller's Jay - one of the most common birds we have up here.  Instantly recognisable by his special crew cut, and iridescent blue body.  They hop about and make their presence known from all the fir trees we have here, as they are not afraid to shout at you if they feel like it.  They are named for the German naturalist who discovered them.
Their voice is not very nice and it's often loud with a shreeka shreeka noise.  They also seem to have no idea how to build nests.  They simply stuff branches together where they can, and often these fall down.    Strangely they are not often found at the east end of the valley, but there are not so many trees out there.
Nonetheless, they are very cheerful little fellows and enrich our lives throughout the seasons. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Video - Olympics

Just before the Olympics disappear into the rear view mirror forever, here is a one-minute video sent to me by my friend Stan in England of a tribute to the Brits who did so well, and ran it well too!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday's Column - Del Mar

Sunday's column was about the small seaside town of Del Mar, in northern San Diego County.  It's a great place with small shops and wonderful beaches.

Regularly the Amtrak train to and from Los Angeles cuts through the west of the town which effectively divides it into two.  But the interruptions are quick, although disruptive.

The beaches are among the best in all of Southern California and the grass bluffs above give plenty of room for strolling and relaxing.

On the occasion of the visit, I took She Who Must Be Obeyed (S.W.M.B.O.) along and it was a masterly stroke as she thought it was a tremendous day out too.

Next time I drive down the 5 Freeway, I shall be tempted to make the short diversion west of the highway.  You can read the entire column at

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gadgets - coaster

I ran into this the other day.

My grandson and I were out on an assignment and we needed some lunch.  With no females around we naturally sought out a junk food establishment, and found one called Fudruckers -  it started in the 80's I think.  We went in and ordered and were given this little device.  They would buzz us when the food was ready.  There is room on the top for a sponsor to put a advertizing coaster,  but so far no-one had taken up the offer.  We waited quite a long time for the food to come, and when it did it wasn't all that hot.  It occurred to me that this device and the waiting involved was really just a marketing plan.  Let's face it when you go to MacDonald's or Burgerking, there's hardly any wait at all.  And a burger is just a burger!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Music Track - Schubert

This was a great favorite of my father's.  He used to play it regularly.  It takes 5:53 to listen to and well worth the time out of your day.  Poor Schubert died when he was only 32.  Imagine what music he would have written if he had lived to a decent age!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Favorite Cars - Corsair

When you drive one of a fleet of cars as a salesman, there is always great competition for one that is a little bit better than the rest.  Having won a big sales competition, I was also in need of replacing the company Ford Cortina, and I pushed my luck all the way and argued for a Ford Cosair, which was quite a sporty and interesting car. 

The only other one in the company was driven by one of the managers, but his had all the extras on it.  I argued that with the mileage I did and the type of accounts I visited, it would benefit the company for me to have a better than normal vehicle.  They bought it, hence I drove this one.  I was a pretty good salesman after all, and not just outside the firm!
It was 1970, and I must say I did feel pretty flash!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bucket List - final tally

My bucket list - the things you want to do before you kick the bucket - are as follows. Take the cruise that leaves Rio de Janeiro and calls in to Montevideo, Buenas Aries, The Falklands, Ushuaia, and ends in Santiago.  I don't know S. America and it would be a wonderful experience.
Sail around the Greek Islands.  No time limit - just island hop.
Take another skydive to add to the five I already did twenty years ago.
Go down a coalmine - I've always wondered what it's like down there.
Go to a Raiders game - not necessarily with the face make-up though.
Motorcycle across the south of the country to Florida
Take a long weekend in Alaska in the winter and hope to see the Northern Lights.
Visit Berlin and then take the train to Moscow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I have the greatest respect for nature photographers.  Their patience must be staggering.  I don't do a lot of this type of stuff because I lack the equipment (and the patience!)  However the other evening I was sitting on the deck and thought I really must try and capture one of the little hummingbirds that come to our feeder.

They are about two and a half inches long including their long beaks.  They are also extremely aggressive and won't allow another around them.  They click their beaks angrily and drive them off.  The angle of this shot doesn't show the scarlet flash of color under the throat which is dazzling.  We'll have them around until the first hard frosts, when they will disappear south.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Video - Heart Attack

I just watched this video and I was so impressed, I'm sending it to all of the people on my mailing list......With the sincere hope that it'll save lives (maybe mine, yours, or someone you love!). 
Please show it to all of your family members and pass it on to all of your friends, the life they save may be yours!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday's Column - Claremont Music

So you wake up one morning and decide that what you want most in the world is to head up an Australian rock band playing the didgeridoo!  Well, first find the didgeridoo!  Then learn to play it.
Didgeridoos on sale.
As it happens not too far away from here there is just the place.  It's the Claremont Folk Music Center, and it's been around since 1958.  The couple who founded it passed away and now the place is being run by their daughter.  It sells only acoustic instruments, which means ones that don't use electricity to power them.
There is also a large selection of antique instruments around the walls which makes it a museum, recognised by the state of California. You can read the entire column at

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Now those of you not living in America are possibly unaware of the recent furore regarding the food chain Chik-fil-a.  The CEO recently went public with his rather fundamental Christian views that allowing gay marriage would bring down the force of God on the USA.  Now I'm always a little suspicious of businesmen's tactics, and the effect of this statement drove everyone crazy with boycotts and support groups.  The mayors of Boston and Chicago virtually banned the chain from their cities and the fellow in San Francisco also went crazy.  The fact remains though that we are supposed to be able to speak our minds out here through the first amendment.  It seems however that such speech is only allowed provided it doesn't upset anyone.  Now as to gay marriage I have to say I really don't care as I think they have the same rights to be unhappy and fork over big wads of cash to divorce lawyers as anyone else.

I've never been to a Chik-fil-a in my life, but the other day there was one in the area and I thought I'd go along and support the good old first amendment.  I have to say the place was packed!  Not only that but it was crawling with children who seemed to have been produced by the usual method rather than a specialised adoption agency.  I stood in a very long line and then checked my watch.  Now I'm all for the old first A, but not when I"m hungry.  So I left and went to the Magic Wok next door which was half empty.  Memo to CEO of Magic Wok:  How about a statement that all gays are going straight to hell!  That should beef up sales a lot.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Music Track - Doors

Lot's of people say we began to lose it in the sixties.  I think there's a strong argument for that.  But they sure had some great music.  Here is perhaps the definitive symbol of that era.  Now reposing in a Paris graveyard ! -

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Some time back I told of the episode with Poofy Williams and my problem with his bullying.  My defeat of him in the playground was legendary in the family, and my father maybe took his advice on overcomoing my assailant perhaps too far.  Obviously in his eyes, I was a fearsome fighter and should be encouraged to pursue the noble art of the Marquis of Queensbury.  My father always lusted after sports excellence in the family, never having achieved it himself.

At the time I was about eight and my school sent round an invitation for boys to enter a boxing competition.  With my stupendous track record of 1 and 0, my father immediately encouraged me to sign up.

I had worn a pair of boxing gloves once before while messing about in gym classes, but my instruction was limited to my father showing me the stance and doing a few feints with him; it seemed like fun.

When the day came for registering, I was found to be the same weight as a boy called Constantine.  Please remember his name as I have never forgotten it.  He was about 12, and I think already shaved twice a day.  Whereas I was about six feet tall, he was four and a half and built like a fire plug.

I mentioned my drawing to my father, who dismissed any fears I might have by saying as long as the weight was the same everything would be just fine.  I think it was the first time I perceived cracks in my father's overall wisdom.

Come the day of the bout, I had some concern at the way Constantine moved around the ring before the off.  It seemed to me that he had done this before - maybe in some sort of Federal Penitentiary.  He also snorted like a bull.  At the sound of the bell, Constantine came straight over to me and hit me in the stomach.  I was shocked, and from that moment decided to run away.  It turned out I was a lot better at running than boxing, and I'm glad to report that Constantine was not too good at it.  The result was that the schoolmaster in charge rang the bell and stopped the bout as it didn't seem fair.  Really?  Maybe I showed up Constantine's lack of speed.  My stomach hurt for days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bucket List - Berlin/Moscow

Last time for this little symbol.  Well, perhaps just one more as I'll post the entire bucket list next week.  But this is the last one to go on.  It's a visit to Berlin, where I have never been, followed by a train ride to Moscow, where I've only ever been to the airport in Commie days.  Both cities represented the commands of the two greatest threats to us all for most of my life.  I would like to see them now those dreadful regimes have collapsed.  I think most of the Nazi sites have disappeared but I would like to visit Wansee where the final solution was proposed - it is now a museum.

As for Moscow, I think they have clung on to many of their relics, perhaps even wishing for the good old days to return.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


My friend Paul in England regularly goes to Florida for vacations.  There can't be many more extremes of climate than these two places.  He once explained to me the effect of humidity on temperature, which naturally I didn't "get."  So I asked him to put it down for me.  Here it is.

Why does it feel hotter one day compared to another when the temperatures were identical? Why do weather reports often include the phrase: "feels like" after the temperature figure? The answer to both those questions is: Humidity. But what is it?
Relative humidity is the most common measurement of humidity used by weather forecasters. Simply, it is the amount of water in the air - the higher the amount of water in the air the higher the humidity. A reading of 100 per cent humidity does not mean it’s raining but it does mean the air can hold no more water.
Why does humidity affect us? Well, humans are very sensitive to humidity levels because the skin relies on air to get rid of sweat. If the humidity level is high the sweat will not evaporate so easily or at all. Consequently, we feel much hotter when the relative humidity is high. Conversely, if the humidity is low, humans can feel cooler than the air temperature. It is generally agreed that people feel most comfortable at a relative humidity of around 45 per cent.
Air Temp:    Humidity per cent
Degrees F  90%  70%  50%  40%

                          Feels Like

      80         85      82    80      79

      85        101     92    86      84

      90        121    105   94      89

Monday, August 13, 2012

Video - Pilot's Game

I'm grateful to my friend Stan in England for this addictive little bit of fun.  It's a pilot's game to check your geography knowledge.  You have to locate the city where the plane is due to land.  I hate those E- European places; they get me every time.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday's Column - Paradise

This is the first of five articles that will appear over the next couple of months resulting from the trip down to the San Diego area last June.  We were invited courtesy of Ms. Hilary Townsend who runs the PR for a number of businesses there.  We stayed at two different hotels and visited five sites to get all the information.

This piece is about the Paradise Point Resort in Mission Bay, San Diego.  It is a first class place and we regretted leaving there.  Our first vacation in California 30 years ago was just across the bay and we often looked over here.  I even came close on the windboard a few times, but never landed.  You can read the entire article at

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Goin' for a Ride!

One of the obligations of owning a Harley is to go for a ride every so often.  Now this is not popping down to the shops but meeting up with ones fellow riders and hitting the trail for a day or at least, a good part of it.  Now normally this entails large amounts of inappropriate food and from time to time a very cold brew.
The other day six of us met to go off on a ride and the first stop was at a burrito place that provides a ton of seriously inappropriate foodstuffs.  After we had consumed this, one of our members said he had to do a little shopping.  Now I have on occasions had a few of the fellows accompany me on an assignment, and they wander around while I do the interview. And then just the other day we had to call into a parts store and pick up very big pieces of metal - cogs and spindles and things for a transmission.  But this one was unique.  The fellow actually wanted to go to a jewelers and buy a wedding ring for his wife of 16 years; she didn't like the one she had.  So we all had to traipse around in flatland heat to do this.  We hit one shop and that was no good, then we went here.

Yes, a damned shopping mall!

I'm afraid after rather a long time we broke and decided to head on up the road leaving the shopper inside.

Now that's what I'm talking about - The Screaming Chicken.  A fine establishment serving ice-cold adult beverages to the discerning rider. 

And inside to serve us, who better!

I did find myself wondering if they were real.  The rings of course!  As for our errant friend, maybe he's still at the mall.  We had a couple and then rode home away from the heat.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Music Track - Gloria

Last Friday we had some quite somber music on the Music Track, so this one  is about 180 degrees different.  See what you think.
This is rather fun  Sorry about the Ad at the start!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Having posted my favorite three cars, I thought I would post a few of some of my other cars.  Having been in sales for 40 years, I have driven quite a few that have often been provided for me.  At the last count some 31, I believe.  Also I've found that you can get pictures of virtually anything on the Web, which has given me a little fun and brought back some happy memories.
This is a DAF.  It was the last car in the family before we set sail (airborne!) for the United States in 1982.  Before wheels up, we gave the car to Michael, who drove it for about a year, before it met with an accident!  It was made by the Dutch Daffodil Motor Company and had a strange automatic transmisson that I never figured out.  It was known in the family as "Flymo!"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I didn't think I was going to bend to this fashion, but I've weakened.  I've joined Twitter.  I'm not too sure quite how useful it's going to be in my life.  To begin with you are limited to 140 characters per tweet.  It's extremely good discipline, of course.  I can't put an image on this post as it doesn't exist, which is a shame as their logo is quite fun.  If you've really little else to do you can follow me at @trevorstracks

Bucket List - To Florida

I have not spent a lot of time in the Deep South of the country.  One way or another I have managed to go to all of the states there, but I've not spend real quality time south of the Mason-Dixon.

So on my bucket list is to ride the Harley across the bottom states all the way to Florida.  It's a bit boring for the first part as you have to cross the deserts of California and Arizona, then New Mexico isn't much better or for that matter western Texas, but I think after that it gets interesting.

Perhaps I should have the bike shipped to Shreveport, LA and start from there!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thumb Card

I was given this business card the other day.  Nothing special about it, but it's made of plastic and it is rather thick too.  However, if you bend it there is a small surprise - it's a thumb drive with all the information about the business inside the drive - pretty neat eh?  It also had a short video on the hotel it represented.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Video - Ants

This summer we've had a bit of an ant problem.  We tried all the usual traps and sprays but they kept invading us.  Eventually we put quite a few traps outside the house and sprayed all around the foundations, and that seems to have done it.  I only hope the origins of our problems are not like the subject of this video.  I'm grateful to my friend Kevin for this piece.  It takes about 3 mins.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday's Column - Big Bear Museum

As the column starts, there is a crop of Teepees in Big Bear these days, but they're not a real historical part of California.  Teepees were the temporary housing of the Plains Indians, and they are very efficient.
However the local Serrano Indians did use a temporary shelter when they came up here, and it's called a Kiiche - pronounced as the savory tart, quiche.
This is one at the Big Bear Museum.  It was built last summer by the San Manuel Indians who came up for the day.  You can read the entire column at

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I was on an errand the other day and  I was asked who I cheered for at the Olympics.  I had to admit that I hadn't thought about it much, and also rarely if ever do the USA and Great Britain come in direct competition.  I always cheered for Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, but then Bradley Wiggins the Brit is now the champion and it's a wonderful achievement.

I have lived very happily in the US now for 30 years and I don't think about loyalties too much.  I love to see the Queen and hear about the Royal Family, but apart from the top politicians - maybe about four - I don't know any of them over there.  On the other hand I can probably give the names of all the serious politicos in the US.

When I returned home I went to the computer to see how the Olympics were doing.  I looked up the medal table and then the individual medalists.  After that I went on to other things and suddenly realized I hadn't looked up the UK results at all, only the USA.  So I guess that says a lot.

Having said that, I don't suppose my Britishness will ever leave me, although it is from a different time.  For instance I found the entire opening ceremony - a celebration of collectivism - very bizarre.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Music Track - Mahler

Now for this week you're going to need a little time to listen to the music track, as it's Mahler.  Here I know that She Who Must Be Obeyed will be turning off as she doesn't like Mahler.  I've tried sneaking him in from time to time, but S.W.M.B.O. always seems to spot it and asks in that special way wives have: "What's that you've put on?"  This is Urlicht (Primal Light) and it's from the Resurrection Symphony (No.2).
It is also sung in a song cycle called Das Knaben Wunderhorn, but it doesn't have the same oomph.  Here Mahler throws everything at it and one comment on the site says 11:15 gives them goosebumps.  I quite agree.  What do you think?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cars - Jag

This was probably my most favorite car.  A 1973 Jaguar XJ6,  God it was beautiful, in primrose with air conditioning and tinted windows.  It had been scheduled for delivery to a diplomat in Washington and he, stupid fellow, decided he didn't want it.  So I became the owner for about three years.  I last saw it in poor condition on Brighton's sea front and the new owner had cut a sun roof into it - badly!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bucket List - Raiders

Of all the sports in America that I took to, the last one has been football.  I hated soccer in England and didn't take a lot of notice of the US  game when I first came out here.  As such I have never been to a professional match and I would like to do so.

I used to like the Dallas Cowboys as I used to travel to Dallas quite a lot.  I still like the team, but our favorites are the Oakland Raiders, who used to play in Los Angeles.

There are some very interesting fans and I think of all the teams I would like to see in real life it is the Raiders.