Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday's Column - Wignall

This Sunday's column is about an art museum whose works I have never actually seen!  It happens that the two occasions that I've been along and met with the curator, they are in between shows.  Nonetheless the space is ideal for showing off a variety of contemporary art and the current exhibition is worth looking at.
Because there was no show on, I couldn't take any photographs and this one is a picture sent to me by Rebecca Trewick the curator.  The exhibition is about aging - something I have some experience with!
To read the entire column go to

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tirade - Hugging

This was one of my first Tirades, but I think it worth repeating for the newer readers.  What the heck is with all this hugging?  Particularly among men.  Now I'm all for the usual handshake -  not one of those weird ethnic jobs that seem to have been developed in a Balinese dancing school.  But being grabbed by some fellow you've only just met is really an assault on the person.  If you were to grab women like that without permission I'm sure there would be repercussions.  I have managed to defend myself against such behavior by turning sideways at the moment I see the lunge coming and sticking out my hand.  It works in about 90% of cases.  But for the rest - Come on People!

Right Track - Gas Prices

Four more years?

Get ready America!  As seen near Lee Vining in California.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Music Track - R.I.P.

We lost another great voice this week. Andy Williams died on Tuesday at age 84.  He had one of those wonderful voices that was so natural.  He used to have a show on TV in the late sixties and seventies that was very American and not always understood by us Brits.  But there is no doubt his voice was unique.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trip - the start

This is Michael (l) and me (r) leaving on our road/camping trip, which Yvonne took.  I'm sure she must have had mixed emotions as we embarked on what was planned to be a very long ride.  The beginning took us across the entire width of Los Angeles County, through heavy traffic before we reached the relative calm of Pacific Coast Highway.  After a stop for lunch at Neptunes Net, a bikers favorite, we headed up through Ventura, Oxnard, and Santa Barbara.  We stopped just above San Luis Obispo at a quiet campsite. We set up our tents and then went into Morro Bay for some "refreshment," and dinner which we brought back to the campsite.  An uneventful night and also some heavy mist the next day before we embarked on the longest leg of the trip.  We covered 322 miles on that first day.
A little misty when we woke up on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pubs - 5

My friend Paul in England suggested I add something about pub signs to this series.  He sent me a piece on a particular sign from the 18th century which has been in and out of controversy with the PC crowd.  It is a sign for the All Labour in Vain pub and shows a black baby being washed in a tub by a white woman.

There is an account of the history of the event published in a local directory for the area of West Sussex.  This is it followed by the sign.

Westergate, the twin of Eastergate, is in the popular market-garden area of West Sussex. It has a poignant legend of an 18th century married couple who left the village to live for a time in tropical climes. The wife returned some time before her husband, and in due course gave birth to a child who was black. The woman was terrified, and tried by constant bathing and scrubbing of the baby to render it white, but all to no avail. Her husband's reactions when he returned are not recorded, but the episode was handed on to posterity by a sign on the local pub; once the house where the couple lived. One side shows a black boy in a bath with his mother scrubbing him, the other shows the woman surveying her useless labour with consternation writ large on her face. The name of the pub The Labour in Vain sums up the story quite neatly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BBQ'd Chicken

I was given a small gift the other day.  It's a frame for bar-b-quing a chicken.  The idea is you insert an opened beer can (complete with contents) in the frame, then put the chicken upside down over it.

Here it is complete with thermometer at the start.  It's cooked over indirect heat at about 350F.

We kept an eye on it, and 1 1/2 hours later it had reached 182F internally, and was therefore ready to come out.  A little charred on the bony winglets, but nonetheless a different way of cooking a bird.

It tasted pretty good!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Video - Woodworking

I'm very grateful to my friend, Mike - in fact he is my oldest -  in Australia for this wonderful video.

Can you imagine what this man could create if he had some "real tools" in his hands???  Not a band aid in sight!  Look at the size of the chisel - no little ones for the delicate bits, and he appears to still have all his fingers and toes!

Amazing hand/foot co-ordination and old fashioned craftsmanship.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday's Column - San Diego Zoo

I don't go to too many zoos and so it was very interesting to visit one of the world's premier ones.  The San Diego Zoo has a lot of space and their reputation is pristine in their care of the animals.  So different from the zoos of yesteryear with animals pacing up and down in cages.  Here there is room for them to roam about and as you can see from the picture above even room for elephants to spread out and dust themselves off after a bath.
You can read the entire column at

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Right Track - Cartoon

Tirade - Party Conferences

Having just endured both political party conferences, I'm about fed up with the entire business.  Let's face it, it's just a massive thrash for hacks - in both parties too.  And what's with that nonsense of casting x number of votes from "The Great State of Wherever?"  Now here's a suggestion.  Why not take all the money it costs and buy TV time (for the candidates to introduce themselves) to the country at the same time.  Say 15 minutes worth - even the Cartoon Network and ESPN.  That way it's all over and we can go back to our previously held prejudices!  Come on People!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Music Track - MJQ

You don't get a lot of jazz from me on the blog as I've never quite "got it!"  However I've a fondness for the Modern Jazz Quartet, perhaps because there is a similarity with the baroque period.  No more than here with "Vendome."

Thursday, September 20, 2012


This term - ICE - has become the instantly recognisable sign or symbol for In Case of Emergency.
As a motorcycle rider, I'm aware of being knocked over and no-one being able to identify me.  I am also aware that there is a philosphy that real men don't worry about such things, and are prepared to allow people to say: "We haven't seen old Trevor around for a bit; wonder what's happened to him?"

Well, perhaps I'm letting the side down a bit, as I bought the above little kit.  It contains five small waterproof tubes that contain a form on which you write your personal information.  The tube can be attached to a jacket, key fob or a belt.  The kit costs about $6 each, and it's called ICEdevice.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pubs - 4

There is no doubt that pubs are having a bad time of it both in the UK and over here too.  I'm sure the principal reason is the enforcement of the drinking/driving laws.  Whereas if you go to a city you will find the pubs cramed - well certainly in London anyway - in other places they are empty.  The problem being that no-one can chance getting picked up driving away after spending time there.

Also there are plenty of attractions at home to keep people from seeking out others in pubs.  With email, iPhones, iPads and everything else, it's a hard thing to attract people to a bar where there is just booze and other people.  Food seems to be the one attraction that can do it these days and often the popularity of a pub is directly proportionalte to the quality of their menu.  In the UK it's a rare place that can make it with just drink, and that seems to be the same case here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thanks to Derek

Last year Derek Hermon of Bear Valley Bikes (, paced me round the lake to knock a few minutes off my best time.  He managed to coax my old frame to a 52:45.3 time, which I shall allow to rest and not try improve.  The heck with it!
Well, my bicycle is a 1991 Klein - the last hand assembled (hand built frame) bicycle in the US. It weighs a scant 23 lbs.  I estimate that it's done about 25,000 miles in its time and recently there have been a few problems.  Time for a visit to Derek.  He fitted new rims, new tires and with a new chain, a new rear cassette of gears.

The more observant of you will notice that there are now nine gears on the rear wheel rather than the original seven.  The chain here is on the sixth one.  The configuration is 36 - 11, meaning only 11 cogs on the outer gear, 36 on the inner.

This means that I can pedal going downhill - fast!

Beforehand I had a problem keeping up with the chain.

Now if you see me in the rear view mirror, watch out, I can still pedal at 30 mph.

Derek gives me a lot of grief riding around on a 21 year-old bike.  But, he also admits, it gets a lot of looks and comments when it's in his shop.  It's a classic.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Video - The German
I'm grateful to my brother-in-law, Tony, who is a pilot, for this.
This is a fascinating, nine minute, short film called "The German", particularly the incredible four minute footage of a desperate Spitfire vs. ME-109 duel.
You feel like you are there! Amazing computer work blended in with real photography.
Also an interesting factual story that most of us did not know. History is rarely 'over'.
Now sit back and strap on your parachute harness ... it is the Summer of 1940 over the skies of England. Listen to the perfect 'purr' of the Rolls Royce Merlin .....
Watch this full screen.  Click here:
The German

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday's Column - Indigo

I had the chance recently of staying at a hotel in Del Mar.  It was a great experience.  I don't spend much time in hotels these days although back in the 80's and 90's it was a rare week when I wasn't in one.
Times have changed and so have hotels.  Costs have soared and I'm not too sure that things have improved accordingly.  But here at the Hotel Indigo there are lots of improvements to enjoy.  You can read the entire column at

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Right Track Political Cartoon

I've posted this before, but with the election so close, I think it perfectly explains both sides of the political spectrum.  I might point out that by having the government look after you, the standard is perhaps not quite what you'd choose for yourself, which is why I came to the United States!

If you don't understand the cartoon, please don't vote!

Tirade - Warnings

S.W.M.B.O. (She Who Must Be Obeyed) doesn't like me shouting at the television.  She says it's annoying and pointless.  But I think it works.  The overseeing nannies of our state believe that we have to be protected from all dangers and that includes flash floods.  So they instituted a warning that comes across the TV with an accompanying buzzing sound.  They have also added an announcer, whose voice in full government efficiency is almost impossible to understand.  No matter, the drivel that we should be careful in such and such an area etc, etc, is put on the screen.  I drives me crazy and I have been forced to go against S.W.M.B.O's wishes and shout at the TV.  Amazingly the most annoying aspect of this stupidity, namely the buzzing and the voice, has stopped.  So, see?
Come on People!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Music Track - Basie

This was done in 1979, in The Hague, Holland.  I was over in Holland a lot at that time.  But then I didn't really appreciate such music.  Now I quite like it.  Particularly the Count himself.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Long Haul Flyers Dinner

Some years ago when we were jumping on and off the big silver birds, my friend Paul in England, and I had several discussions about what to eat after a long haul flight.  We came to the conclusion that the best dinner under those difficult circumstances was steak, baked potato and some greenery.
Now in fairness to accuracy we decided that a filet mignon was the best steak to get.  Well, I had my son Michael come out from London the other day and in readiness I went to the market for the necessary steak; only to find that there was a long line of vacationers tying up the butcher's time.  Since I didn't have all day I went to the meat cabinet and bought the meat out of there.  I don't think Michael minded as he ate the lot! P.S. If you're going to Japan, sushi and noodle soup will do the job as well!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pubs - 3

Pubs were originally houses opened up to the public.  Mostly they were in the country where people were very poor and the heating and lighting of their homes was difficult.  Therefore they could go to the pub where a fire was always burning and  candles were alight.  For a few pennies they could buy a pint or a half of beer, and wile away the evening with other people rather than in their cold and dark cottages.

City pubs have always been a little different.  Whereas the "landlord" of the country pub always lived in the establishment, often the city pub landlord locked the place up or employed someone to stay there after closing time.  Also city pubs did most of their business in the daytime and tended to be quiet in the evenings.  Things have certainly changed in the UK these days, with many pubs up for sale - particularly in the country and suburbia.  There are many reasons for this and next time we'll cover the demise of one of my favorite institutions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


My son Michael and I are off on a motorcycling camping trip.  Now doing this with motorcycles require  attention to detail as you don't have a lot of space to pack things.  And we cook at the campsites as well.

So here are our accommodations for the next few days - maybe a week.  I set them up in the backyard to make sure they were OK, and they are.  I bought these two about 20 years ago for $20 each.  I think we've had good value out of them as we've used them quite a lot.  All we need now is good weather as I'm  not sleeping in them if it rains!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Video - Flying over America

I'm grateful to my friend, Denise for this.  For those of us fortunate enough to live here and also for those only visiting, this is truly an amazing place to enjoy.  This five minute video shows off the best parts.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday's Column - the Chef

This week the column was devoted to a visit to a chef in Carlsbad who grows his own food at the restaurant's farm.

Chef Eugenio hails from near Venice and has always been interested in growing things.  As a result when the owners of the restaurant - the West Bistro - offered a piece of land to him for cultivation, he jumped at the chance.  On my visit he showed me all the crops he was growing.  There were a lot.  He visits the farm several times a day to decide what to put on the menus at the two restaurants he manages.  The food was pretty good too.
Unfortunately, the Sun has not yet put up the piece on line, so I'll have to make one of those unpleasant phone calls tomorrow!  Hopefully you will soon be able to read it at

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Trevor's Tirade - Humor (Humour for the Brits!)

Have we totally lost our collective sense of humor? By taking all insensitive material out of the common discourse has it meant that everyone is more comfortable, or happy?  I don't think so!  Don't you miss the occasional ethnic joke?  I certainly do and I don't see people running around with extra happy grins knowing that their group is no longer a target.
The latest stupidity is that someone posted or said: "I'd rather take a shower at Penn State than cheer for the Wolverines!"
Naturally the PC crowd are going nuts as such a terrible remark is so insensitive.
How stupid can you get.  Come on People!

Right Track - Dennis Miller

I'm grateful to my friend Denise for bringing this clip to my attention.  I think Dennis Miller shows up Jay Leno's whishy-washy outlook very well.  It takes about 2 1/2 minutes - well worth the time.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Music Track - La Lambada

Hard not to want to dance to his one from Brazil - or is it Spain?  Would you say the dancing is a little suggestive?  Sorry about the ad at the beginning!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cars - Fiat 132

The last company car I drove in England was a brand new Fiat 132.

The car was extremly fast and also luxurious, with A/C, sliding roof and lots of extras. I had inherited a gray one, but the one I picked up new was the same color as this.  I wonder where it is now?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pubs - 2

The Romans are credited with introducing pubs (Public Houses) into England's damp climate around AD 53.  In fact there is a pub in St. Albans called the Fighting Cocks which claims to be England's oldest pub.  St. Alban's used to be called Verulameum in Roman times and it's likely that the Fighting Cocks was actually called the Bunch of Grapes.  The inside of this pub gives no indication that it is Roman however, as it is a sea of video games, Formica, and overall gaudiness.  But there is evidence to believe that the site was some form of hostelry.

Further to the north however, in the city of Nottingham is a pub called The Trip to Jerusalem and this is the genuine article.  It is named after the site where crusaders would gather before they made the long journey to the holy land to fight the Muslims.  The time for this is a lot closer than Roman times and occurred in the 13th century.  Later in it's history, in the 16th century, a hiding place was erected in the chimney going up from the bar.  This was where priests could be hidden when they were being hunted by the opposing faith.  It's called a priest's hole.  It's been about fifty years since I was in "The Trip," so my memory of it is a little faint, but I suspect my visit was spurred by an overall curiosity as to what it was like.  After all, these are houses that are open to the public, and you can just wander in.  No doubt this is the same curiosity as that which draws people to "Open Houses" run by realtors.  Lots of people go in with no interest at all in buying.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rocky the Alpaca

I went to one of our regional parks recently.  During my visit I met up with this fine little fellow - an alpaca.

I liked the way he was chewing on a straw.  He didn't mind me photographing him one bit.  I think his legs could do with a bit of a wash though.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Video - magawhoosh

This only takes 45 seconds, and was sent to me by a friend.  From the comments on the U-Tube page it seems lots of people think it's fake.  But some people are crazy enugh.  I don't know, what do you think?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday's Column - Design

Sunday's column looks at the design that's all around us.  Mostly we don't notice such things, but I had some time at Ontario airport the other day and happened to look up and notice these panels hanging over the upper windows.
I'm sure very few people ever see them, but at some stage in the building of the airport, designers had come up with the idea and then had an artist produce the panels.  You can read the entire colum at

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Right Track - the Fence

I'm indebted to my friend Jean for his one.

Which side of the fence?

If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a Republican reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A Democrat will delete it because he's "offended". 

Tirade - Title

As most of you know I'm a keen American - after all I came here by choice not accident of birth!  However, that doesn't mean I believe the country is perfect.  For instance, it is America that has spearheaded the use of Christian names - Oh, OK, first names if you must.  There is nothing more obnoxious to me than the sight and sound of a small child addressing an adult by his first name.  It is even encouraged by some adults as they seem to think it helps everyone to relax.  The heck with relaxation! What about manners and respect.  A child frankly hasn't had the experience to be allowed to do that. 
And yet strangely, the moment a serious crime has been committed, the perpetrator is immediately referred to by his title.  Only the other day a murder was committed close by the Empire State.  During the initial announcement the news media began calling the shooter Mr. Johnson.  And yet if you talk to some customer service rep over the phone, never having met before they immediately want to know what your first name is.  I usually tell them "Mr."  Come on People!