Tuesday, December 31, 2013


We have quite a lot of Robins up here.  Unlike their British cousins however, these are quite large - maybe about 6 - 8 inches.  Whereas the British ones are only about 4 inches.  Maybe they've been bred on a diet of too many McDonald's here to make them that way.
The other day I was waiting for S.W.M.B.O. outside our local Post Office where there is a little park with some trees around.  There must have been some ten or twelve Robins swarming around the tree tops.  I didn't know they went around in flocks, did you?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Right Track - Vacation

And so our beloved president has gone off on a vacation for two weeks.  I always smile at the anger generated by the other side whenever a president takes off.  The press used to get very snarky whenever "W" went off to Crawford, and equally so when his father was seen sailing off the coast of Kennebunkport.  Clinton too used to get some flak when he went off to Martha's Vineyard.  In the case of the current leader I welcome a respite from his endless TV appearances.  There's no escape when he goes on - every news outlet broadcasts his latest lecture live.  Thank heavens for The Military Channel in such circumstances.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tirade - Driving.

We seem to have two types of drivers up here in the winter.  The ones who believe four wheel drive means they can go as fast as they like without any chance of swerving.  It doesn't work guys!  Then we have the other type.  The ones when they see a small patch of snow, freeze and drive at 15 miles an hour on our main boulevard.  Mostly these seem to be small Hispanic females who can barely see over the tops of their steering wheels.  After a snow fall Cal Trans actually do a great job of ploughing the roads.  Within 24 hours the roads are perfectly dry and safe.  However these ideal conditions are insufficient to let these frightened creatures reach the posted speed limit, often with snow chains banging around the wheel wells.  It drives the rest of us mad.  Come on People!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Music Track - Jay Z

I try very hard not to be a music snob.  I'm sure there is not good music or bad music as it's just a question of taste.  But the other day I noticed that the gentleman known as Jay Z - married to the equally famous Beyonce no less - walked away with some nine awards at a recent music ceremony.  Therefore in an attempt to research his music, I took a little stroll around You Tube for some of his stuff.  I have to say that it mostly seems to take a long time to get going and it's very repetitive.  But I chose this one for this week's track.  Now I only managed it for a total of one minute as perhaps there's something wrong with me but surely this is not "good" music.  Is it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnDh0JhmaFw

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmas Sleigh
You have to hand it to the Redneck community to come up with some original Christmas decorations.  We don't have anything nearly as novel as this around here, but maybe in 2014!  Have a wondeful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Recently my computer has been going very slow.  In fact it's driven me mad although I've tried to be patient with it.  Today it was so bad that I was stumped as to what to do.  I must have pushed a button too quickly as eventually it all stopped and then a little message appeared - I've had them before - asking me if I wanted to report the issue to Microsoft.  Normally I say no and try to carry on, but today I went a different route.  I said yes and eventually a message appeared thanking me and giving me the chance of having more information.  Here I was invited to let them check the machine, which over the course of about ten minutes it did.  Well, I don't know quite what they did, but it worked, and worked very well.  So if the same thing happens to you, let Microsoft have a shot at it!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Video - Amazing Magic

I was sent this the other day and it is one of the most amazing magic tricks I've ever seen.  Mostly I don't like them as they make me feel even more stupid than normal, but I can't see how on earth this is done. It takes about 6 minutes. http://www.flixxy.com/incredible-magic-trick-the-lottery-illusion.htm#.UnljO-UndTQ.gmail

Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Layout

With the first day of winter we change the layout once again.  I hope you like it as it has to last until the spring equinox on March 20, 2014.

Right Track - Welfare

This is a recording of a listener to an Austin, Texas radio show.  She explains why she doesn't see the need to work as everything is provided for her.  Perhaps with all the benefits of modern society we have reached the stage where you will soon have the choice of joining her and never working.  But how long before this part of society resents the rewards of the part that does work?  Just a question of time, I think.  Chilling stuff.  It takes about 7 minutes and thanks to Kevin for this.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tirade - Titles

Now I know a lot of these tirades make me out to be very old fashioned, but most of the old fashioned ways were developed over the years to actually make society move smoothly - like manners!  Now we come to title - not lords and ladies titles, but those for "the common man!"  Or woman, of course!  I have really become annoyed at the immediate reversion to a title for any criminal or low life who falls foul of the law.  The moment he was arrested OJ Simpson became Mr. Simpson.  Had that not have happened everyone would have insisted on calling him OJ or Juice which I believe was his nickname.  But the moment they slap the cuffs on you , it's Mr.!  I wish someone could explain to me how only using a courteous title for criminals helps society, when it seems perfectly OK for a child to approach a stranger and start calling him by his first name.  Come on People!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Music Track - Lufwaffe March

In the first half of WWII things were pretty bleak.  The Germans seemed to have the best equipment, uniforms and organisation.  Also they had the best music.  They had the Horst Wessel Song and Deuchland Uber Allies and we had "There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover."  This is typical of their type of music but just in case you think I've gone over to the dark side, this is written by an Englishman, Ron Goodwin, for the movie Battle of Britain.  But it makes me want to go out and oil up the tank! Ten - shun!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CNubveH3mE

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


My friend Rod sent me this the other day as we were discussing turkey.  I did actually try the beast - a duck breast inside a chicken breast inside a turkey. Frankly it wasn't that good and it was quite expensive!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

B & B's

In the small CA town of Los Alamos sits the Union Hotel.  Many years ago we spent a very interesting and enjoyable weekend staying there where they offered a bed and breakfast Saturday pm though lunch on Sunday.  We drove very close to it the other day and I made the detour and it was exactly the same as twenty years ago.  It's a big place going back a long way from the road, and has a number of "theme" rooms. We stayed in an ordinary one when we were there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Video - Cute Bears

My friend Norm sent me this video of some really cute Polar Bears.  And I thought we'd destroyed them all with global warming!  http://www.youtube.com/embed/CbILj_CYqno

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday's Column - Discovery Center

This week the journey is not so far; just the other side of the lake.  But here is a great place for people to find out what's happening in the local area fro hikes, cycle rides and snow fun.  It's also a fine resource to take children to who might not be too familiar with things in nature.  It's time for them to stop pressing buttons with their little fingers and play in the dirt and climb trees and look at animals.  You can read the entire column at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131214/big-bear-discovery-center-is-fun-and-adventure

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Right Track - Dinesh D'Sousa

I often envy people who can elucidate complex things simply.  Here is a six minute video of Dinesh D'Sousa explaining how he sees the effect of government interference.  It's worth listening to and I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for sending it to me.  http://safeshare.tv/w/VoDMsZIpqC

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tirade - Stupidity

I saw a piece in a British newspaper the other day - I look over a couple of them every so often.  What caught my eye was a quote by the Lord Mayor of London, one Boris Johnson.  He said "Economic equality will never be possible because some people are too stupid to get ahead."  With my American eye, I did think that this was a pretty harsh comment.  But have we become too squeamish to ever call a spade a spade.  And that is exactly what Mr. Johnson just did.  He also went on to say that in every survey 16% of people were below an IQ of 85, whereas only 2% are above an IQ of 130.  He did go on to say however that the gap between rich and poor had widened, and steps should be taken to help bright people from poor homes to rise up with some help from government.  I have no problem with that at all.  But is it wrong to speak out with the truth even if it is unpalatable?  Come on People! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Music Track - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, part two

I put swing on the blog some time ago and it proved rather popular.  Here is another track, but this time with the esteemed Bertie Wooster playing his role to the soundtrack.  What would Jeeves say! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk6oKTVa3J4

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Up North

People in California refer to the Bay area as "the north!"  The fact is though that it's very far from the north if you look at a map.  What do they call Eureka or Crescent City, if San Francisco is "north?"
I have a solution to the problem.  In England we refer to the north as being Manchester and beyond - it makes a lot of sense if you check it.  But then there is Birmingham and stuff around the middle like Leicester and Northampton.  We call this area the Midlands.  Now isn't that sensible?  I also rather like the idea of calling San Francisco the Midlands!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Night Driving

I had to drive home the other evening; it was about 50 miles and it was totally dark on an unlit road.  It occurred to me that I hadn't done this in quite some time.  Also that I wasn't completely happy with the circumstances.  I try very hard to resist the aging process, but is this perhaps one of the symptoms?  I virtually never ride the Harley at night - don't need to - and now it seems that I prefer not to drive either.  It's not anything I can put my finger on and it's only outside the local area.  But it is still a little feeling that time is rolling on!  Ah me!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Video - Above and Beyond

I'm grateful to my friend Don in Orange County for this very interesting 7:45 minute video.  It's about the volunteers for the Israeli Air Force in 1948. http://vimeo.com/54400569

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday's Column - UCR Photography Museum

This Sunday we visit the UCR Museum of Photography - a very interesting place.  The interior of the museum is designed to look like the interior of a camera - not the digital kind but the old fashioned type with it's spools and black painting.  The exhibition is constantly changing and if you are anywhere near the center of Riverside this a very worthwhile place to look around. You can read the entire column at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131206/get-the-picture-at-the-ucr-museum-of-photography-in-riverside

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Right Track - ObamaFlowers

I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for this simple explanation of how government programs work.

Receptionist:  Hello, Welcome to ObamaFlowers, My name is Trina. How can I help you?
Customer:  Hello.  I received an email from Professional Flowers stating that my flower order has been canceled and I should go to your exchange to reorder it. I tried your website, but it seems like it is not working. So I am calling the 800 number.
Receptionist:  Yes!  I am sorry about the website. It should be fixed by the end of the year. But I can help you.
Customer:  Thanks, I ordered a "Spring Bouquet" for our anniversary, and wanted it  delivered to my wife.
Receptionist:  Interrupting, Sir, "Spring Bouquets" do not meet our  minimum standards, I will  be happy to provide you with Red Roses.
Customer:  But I have always ordered "Spring Bouquets", done it  for years, my wife likes them.
Receptionist:  Roses are better, sir, I am sure your wife will love them.
Customer: Well, how much are  they?
Receptionist: It depends sir, do you want our Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum package.
Customer: What's the difference?
Receptionist: 6, 12,18 or 24 Red Roses.
Customer: The Silver package may be okay, how much is it?
Receptionist: It depends sir, what is your monthly income?
Customer: What does that have to do with anything?
Receptionist: I need that to determine your government flower subsidy, then I can determine how much your out-of-pocket cost will be. But if your income is below our minimums for a subsidy, then I can refer you to our FlowerAid department.
Customer: FlowerAid?
Receptionist: Yes, Flowers are a right.  Everyone has a right to flowers. So, if you can't afford them, then the government will supply them free of charge.
Customer: Who said they were a right?
Receptionist: Congress passed it, the President signed it and the Supreme Court found it constitutional.
Customer: Whoa!  I don't remember seeing anything in the Constitution regarding flowers as a right.
Receptionist:  It is not really a “Right in  the Constitution,” but ObamaFlowers is Constitutional because the Supreme Court  Ruled it a "Tax". Taxes are Constitutional. But we feel it is a right.
Customer: I don't believe this.
Receptionist: It's the law of the land sir. Now, we anticipated most people would go for the Silver Package, so what is you monthly income sir?
Customer: Forget it, I think I will forgo the flowers this year.
Receptionist: In that case sir, I will still need your monthly income.
Customer: Why?
Receptionist: To determine what your 'non-participation' cost would be.
Customer: WHAT?  You can't charge me for NOT buying flowers!
Receptionist: It's the law of the land, sir, approved by the Supreme Court. It's $9.50 or 1% of your monthly income.
Customer interrupting: This is ridiculous, I'll pay the $9.50.
Receptionist: Sir, it is $9.50 or 1% of your monthly income, whichever is greater.
Customer: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What a rip-off!
Receptionist: Actually sir, it is a good deal. Next year it will be 2%.
Customer: Look, I'm going to call my Congressman to find out what's going on here. This is ridiculous. I'm not going  to pay it.
Receptionist: Sorry to hear that sir.  That's why I had the NSA track this call and obtain the make and model of the cell phone you are using.
Customer: Why does the NSA need to know what kind of CELL PHONE I AM USING?
Receptionist: So they get your GPS coordinates sir.
Door Bell rings followed immediately by a loud knock on the door
Receptionist: That would be the IRS sir.  Thanks for calling ObamaFlowers.  Have a nice day and God Bless America

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tirade - Appeasement!

So we are supposed to cheer the efforts of our Secretary of State and President in allowing some sanctions to be eased for the Iranians?  The same people who have carried out terrorist attacks for the last 25 years, and who have sponsored acts of war against the west.  In return they have "promised" to cut down on their weapons making.  But wait, we're allowed to inspect their sites - but not all of them!  If they behave we've agreed to ease off even more sanctions in six months.  Is any of this at all recognisable?  Perhaps 1938 Munich if you're having trouble following along.  For those with defective memories here is a 1:45 clip of that event.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj7b7ufh9tQ  About the only thing that could be said in favor of that disgraceful piece of history is that it bought England a year in order to begin arming.  Sadly, today's worthless piece of paper doesn't even do that.  Come on People!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Music Track - Blurred Lines

I rather gave up watching music videos about twenty years ago but occasionally I roam around You Tube to see what's going on.  I found this and at the time it had received 215,000,000 hits which is pretty amazing.  It's a bit repetitive but has some good points, I guess.  See what you think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A good fry up!

It's not often that we resort to the time honored British dinner tradition of a good fry up.  In fact since the dietitians have been at our various habits for years, there is always a feeling of guilt when consuming anything not comprised of sticks and green dirt.  But the other evening She Who Must Be Obeyed and I fancied something a little different from our usual health food and I let fly in the kitchen.  Above is what I put before her.  From the top - home cooked thinly sliced potatoes, mushroom, fried egg on a half a slice of fried bread, two strips of bacon, fried tomato, and two skinless sausages, all surrounding some baked beans.  Oh yes, a little cilantro for garnish.  And the result? I think S.W.M.B.O. liked it! Even the cilantro's gone!

And to think we used to eat something like this most mornings before going to school, and it didn't seem to hurt any of us did it?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Technology Leap

Every so often a new development in technology comes along that takes one's breath away.  If you haven't seen this it will amaze you.  It's Amazon's new delivery system planned for about five years down the road.  With more and more of their warehouses sited near their customers, this new system is possible for half an hour delivery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le46ERPMlWU

Monday, December 2, 2013

Video - Marching Bands

My grandson, Evan, was in his high school marching band and we went to a few of his concerts.  They were pretty impressive.  Here is an amazing display of the art however, sent to me by my friend Kevin.  It's the Ohio State University Marching Band. It takes 8:50 minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNe0ZUD19EE&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday's Column - Dave Gun Range

We've got a lot of guns in the USA!  Mostly they are tucked away to protect us as we can't expect the police to arrive any faster than a Dominos Pizza delivery guy - and they don't always carry!  No doubt the guns themselves are pretty efficient, but how good are the shooters?  Like most physical skills shooting has to be practiced.  In order to do that you probably need a little help with your technique, and this Sunday's column visits Dave's Gun Range in S/Bernadino which is the ideal place.  You can real all about it at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131129/learn-shooting-skills-safety-at-daves-gun-range-in-san-bernardino

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Right Track - Affordable Boat Act

I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for this early warning of a new Obamalaw!

The U.S. government has just passed a new law called: "The affordable boat act" declaring that every citizen MUST purchase a new boat, by April 2014. These "affordable" boats will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each. This does not include taxes, trailers, towing fees, licensing and registration fees, fuel, docking and storage fees, maintenance or repair costs.

This law has been passed, because until now, typically only wealthy and financially responsible people have been able to purchase boats. This new law ensures that every American can now have an "affordable" boat of their own, because everyone is "entitled" to a new boat. If you purchase your boat before the end of the year, you will receive 4 "free" life jackets; not including monthly usage fees.

In order to make sure everyone purchases an affordable boat, the costs of owning a boat will increase on average of 250-400% per year. This way, wealthy people will pay more for something that other people don't want or can't afford to maintain. But to be fair, people who cant afford to maintain their boat will be regularly fined and children (under the age of 26) can use their parents boats to party on until they turn 27; then must purchase their own boat.

If you already have a boat, you can keep yours (just kidding; no you can't). If you don't want or don't need a boat, you are required to buy one anyhow. If you refuse to buy one or can’t afford one, you will be regularly fined $800 until you purchase one or face imprisonment.

Failure to use the boat will also result in fines. People living in the desert; ghettos; inner cities or areas with no access to lakes are not exempt. Age, motion sickness, experience, knowledge nor lack of desire are not acceptable excuses for not using your boat.

A government review board (that doesn't know the difference between the port, starboard or stern of a boat) will decide everything, including; when, where, how often and for what purposes you can use your boat along with how many people can ride your boat and determine if one is too old or not healthy enough to be able to use their boat.

They will also decide if your boat has out lived its usefulness or if you must purchase specific accessories, (like a $500 compass) or a newer and more expensive boat. Failure to comply with these rules will result in fines and possible imprisonment.

Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a boat, they and their families can obtain boats free, at the expense of tax payers. Unions, bankers and mega companies with large political affiliations ($$$) are also exempt.

The Gov't. is also working on an "Affordable Car Act" too, and should be online and available by Christmas....................

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tirade - Resources

Recently I was riding my bike along a side, side street.  A couple of men were digging a trench across the road about four feet deep - no doubt to lay a pipe of some sort.  There were plenty of orange cones on both sides to give warning and also big signs places prominently well before the hazard.  But there were also two flag men with slow/stop hand signs.  Now I know that we have to be aware of safety at all times, but isn't this a little over the top?  I don't suppose more than ten cars an hour go down this very quiet street, and do we really need two men at $50,000 a year plus all the usual benefits and pensions to hold up the little traffic there is?  Come on People!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my American friends, including the Rednecks!  And apologies to the late great Norman Rockwell.
My thanks to Denise down in Florida for this wonderful interpretation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Human Ingenuity...

...seems to know no bounds!
Michael and I were rather fascinated by this piece of automotive engineering.  Need a trailer?  Just chop the engine and cab part off a Dodge truck!  Outstanding!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I've never quite understood why Americans don't much like lamb.  Granted this fellow is most unlikely to provide good eating as he'd be far too tough.  But lamb is one of the delights of Europe and come spring, it is much sought after.  Sheep need lots of grass and America has this in plenty.  Sheepherders and their flocks were disliked by cattlemen in the old days as sheep, I believe, tend to crop the grass too low for cattle to be able to use it.  But where there are no cattle, sheep can provide wonderful meat and also wool that is hard to beat.  The other day we splurged on a boneless leg of lamb and along with its accompaniment of mint sauce - not that nasty jelly - but the one made with fresh mint, boiling water, sugar and vinegar.  It was expensive but delicious - the lamb not the sauce!
As an aside I also miss the somewhat quaint English expression of "Mutton* dressed up as lamb!"  Meaning a woman of older years dressing like a young girl.  I think it is meaningless out here.
*Mutton is old sheep meat which is rather tough.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Video - Juggler

I'm grateful to my friend Kevin in the Marina for this amazing video of juggling.  I've always rather wanted to do this but I know that if I tried it and practiced until the end of time I couldn't succeed. http://www.youtube.com/embed/z8qFBvnUGSM

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday's Column - Mono Lake

Sitting along the edge of Mono Lake are some strange shaped obelisks.  They're called Tofas and they are the result of the high alkali content of the water.  Mono Lake is an odd place; it sits on the edge of Route 395 which is usually full of traffic going up to Reno and beyond.  I stopped there recently and you can read the account at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131123/mono-lake-fascinating-place-to-dip-a-toe

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Right Track - I know nothing!

I do wonder exactly what is going on in the White House.  We've had more than our fair share of problems.  Fast and furious; James Rosen's supposed security risk; the IRS holding up the tax free status of conservative groups; the debacle in Benghazi; the terrible roll out of the program for Obamacare, and the NSA snooping on our allies.  In each case the President has declared that he knew nothing about each one.  Is he so completely out of it that he really didn't know about these things, and is it a valid excuse?  It sounds to me as worthless as a five year old denying he ate the last jam tart. Or Sgt Schultz plea in Hogan's Heros - "I know nussing!"  In fact I believe it to be evidence of what has to be the most incompetent administration I can ever remember.  In case you've forgotten - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ag4nkSh7Q

Friday, November 22, 2013

R.I.P. - J.F.K.

Fifty years ago today John F. Kennedy was murdered.  Like most people I remember exactly where I was when the news came in. I was newly married for six months with a baby on the way.  I remember hearing the news on our black and white TV and feeling terribly shocked.  JFK was a fresh youthful man and seemed to be perfect for the age.  The fact that he was murdered by a pathetic little communist of doubtful abilities was an even greater shock.  It didn't seem possible that such a large character could be rubbed out so easily by such a non-entity.  (A similar feeling existed with the death of Princess Diana.)
Undoubtedly something else died on that dreadful day in Dallas and perhaps it was innocence as we all came awake to a harsher reality, and things have never been quite the same.
The photo is of the JFK memorial erected at Runnymede overlooking the Thames, where the Magna Carta was signed.  It sits on an acre of ground given in tribute to the American people.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Music Track - The Wrong Piece!

I found this clip the other day.  I don't know the pianist, but there she was about to play a Mozart concerto when the orchestra began playing one completely different.  She is not happy and has to have some words with the conductor while she sits bemused.  Watch the clip to see what happens. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100243153/pianist-maria-joao-pires-panics-as-she-realises-the-orchestra-has-started-the-wrong-concerto/

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shoe Shine

On my recent look around the Santa Fe Station in San Bernardino I noticed this relic from the near past.  Here, men and occasionally women, would climb up, grab a newspaper and have their shoes shined.  When I first came to New York in 1969, boys would run around the streets with little boxes to shine shoes.  You don't see that today.  I even knew of services that used to come to offices to perform the shine-up while business was being conducted.  I have no idea if this still happens.
But out in the world it's pretty much over now, although I have seen it done in airports.  Let's face it, so many people wear sneakers even with suits that there is no need for polishing.  I wonder if in another 1000 years one of these turns up in an archaeological dig, what the scientists will make of these strange seats?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Air Show

We have an air show up here in Big Bear.  Unfortunately it's every other year so I never write about it.  If they held it each year then I could go along, write the piece, and sit on it for a year.  But two years is too long for me.  After all I don't even buy green bananas!  I don't know exactly what these planes are, but this one comes from WWII.
I liked this red one immensely.

Also I liked this Studebaker, which thoughtfully had its information posted on it. 1957!
Some type of Russian trainer, I think.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Video - Traffic

From time to time we are all caught in traffic.  Even up here in Big Bear the traffic along the boulevard can be quite high.  But after seeing this video of the end of Ramadan in Bangladesh, there will be no more complaining.  I often wondered why those women always wore pants, now I know as they climb aboard.http://safeshare.tv/w/vwncRciSFb  My thanks to Kevin in the Marina for this one.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday's Column - Glacier National Park

One of the most beautiful places I've ever been to is the subject of this week's column.  It is the Glacier National Park in Montana, which was the apex of our long ride in the summer.  It is spectacular and it should be on everyone's bucket list in my opinion.  You can read the entire column here at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131115/time-it-right-when-visiting-glacier-park

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Right Track - Apologies?

There seems to be some confusion over the President's recent apology over lying to everyone about being able to keep our insurance policies if we liked them - our doctors too.  Well, let's review what happened.  The Affordable (That's a joke if ever there was one!) Care Act was rammed through Congress with not one Republican vote in favor and not one Democratic vote against.  In order to ensure that the voting went as planned with majorities in both houses, the authorities had to bribe, cajole and force the members to comply.  They could not have done this if members' constituents were up in arms.  Therefore it was necessary to calm the troubled waters by offering lies that people would not have their plans taken away.  The latest argument that it was the insurance companies who welshed on the deal is totally spurious as it was the the authorities who made them change their conditions so they could not comply with grandfathering.  Some of us have quite good memories.  Apology indeed!

Tirade - Web site?

I'm grateful to several people for sending me this time line for comparison of efforts. 
March 21st 2010 to October 1 2013 is 3 years, 6 months, 10 days. 
December 7, 1941 to May 8, 1945 is 3 years, 5 months, 1 day. 
What this means is that in the time we were attacked at Pearl Harbor to the day Germany surrendered is not enough time for this federal government to build a working webpage. 
Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks, planes, jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes, millions upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa, Invading Italy, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, Race to Berlin - all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!!
And they can't build a webpage. Come on People!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Music Track - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

When I was growing up, my father didn't approve of this type of music, and with few methods of reproduction around, it wasn't that easy to hear; especially as it came from AMERICA!!!!!!  However, I must have heard it a little.  These days I put it on the system and She Who Must Be Obeyed and I often execute many of the moves shown here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehtEFCuBD_8&list=RD02g6ICYbiLIsg

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I've always been impressed with Dr. Charles Krauthammer.  He is a politial commentator whose opinions are always right on the mark. I recently watched a biography on him and he has had an amazing life.  Not the least of which has been coping with life in a wheelchair.  He fractured his spine in a diving accident and hasn't walked since his early 20's.  Nonetheless he has become a voice of reason in a mad world and his thoughts are always stimulating.  He has recently published a new book "Things that Matter," and it is already on my Kindle's wish list. http://www.amazon.com/Things-That-Matter-Passions-Pastimes/dp/0385349173/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382888002&sr=8-1&keywords=krauthammer

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wildlife Dependency - A Warning

I'm grateful to my friend Denise for this touching warning about dependency.
Animals that formerly were self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democrat Party.  They have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance.  This photo is of a black bear in Montana turned Democrat.  He's nicknamed Bearack Obearma.  It is believed that he has become a campground organizer.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Video - Roads

Sometimes I think we take some basic things for granted, like roads.  This video sent to me by my friend Kevin in the Marina shows you just how things could be if we hadn't advanced in the last 100 years.  I don't fancy it, do you? http://www.youtube.com/embed/nq2jY1trxqg?rel=0

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday's Column - The Cave

We lost one of our two movie theaters earlier this year, and it stood empty for some time.  I was sorry to see it go as we'd seen some pretty good films there over the years.  But local businessman Dave Stone bought the property, and opened it up as an entertainment place for rock concerts.  Big Bear has never had anything like it before.  You can read the entire article at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131108/the-cave-is-a-noteworthy-addition-to-big-bear-lakes-nightlife

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Right Track - Immigration

We now have a new problem to add to the many others concerning illegal immigration.  We now have people turning up at the border claiming asylum, as they are political refugees.  They are using the legal term of having "credible fear" of drug cartels in Mexico, and we, the USA, are bound to allow them in.  No more need for coyotes and tunnels or climbing the fence; just turn up and claim credible fear and you're in.  As many of the facilities are already overcrowded, the solution is now to put these "refugees" in hotels at taxpayers expense.  Nice!  I wish when I came here in 1982, I had tried this dodge.  After all I was in credible fear of two things - soccer and socialism.  But wait, they've followed me here.  Where to now?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tirade - Pregancy

There seems to be yet another problem brewing that I hadn't realized existed.  It stems from some strange overwhelming urge on the part of people, and I believe it's largely men, to touch a pregnant woman's belly.  I hadn't known about this before, but I do recognise that there is an odd urge to do so.  Before I became the retiring, sensitive person that I am today, I have to admit that I have been known to do it, not realising the revulsion that I had caused.  So it seems that yet another pretty harmless activity is to be labelled as an invasion of privacy.  What's next, call it a sexual assault followed by registration as a sex criminal? And yet it's OK to grab an unsuspecting person (of either sex) and enfold them in an unwelcome hug!  Come on People!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Music Track - Elton John

I think that if a popular song can last nearly 40 years and still work - particularly when the performance is minimalist - then it has to be good.  See what you think of this 1976 Elton John video - long before he adopted the wigs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2e4NlnLr28

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We seem to have changed from summer to winter in about 48 hours this year.  And it's come rather early too.  It's not just us humans that have felt it but the trees.  I was told some time back by a naturalist that it's the combination of lower temperatures and less sunlight that makes an enzyme in the trees (and flowers) begin to change color and eventually lose their leaves.  Up here in Alpine country we have mostly  pine trees but if you keep your eyes open there are a lot of other deciduous trees with wonderful colors.
How about these two beauties side by side

This was tucked away in someone's backyard, too bad they were not there to enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Gun Debate Continues

In the constant argument about guns and whether to ban/control them here is one aspect that many might have overlooked.  I'm grateful to my friend Don in Orange County for sending me this touching account.

"While out walking along the edge of a bayou just below Houma, Louisiana with my soon to be ex-husband discussing property settlement and other divorce issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-ft. alligator suddenly emerging from the murky water and charging us with its large jaws wide open. She must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive. If I had not had my little Beretta Jetfire .25 caliber pistol with me I would not be here today! Just one shot to my estranged husband's knee cap was all it took. The gator got him easily and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace. It's one of the best pistols in my collection! Plus ... the amount I saved in lawyer's fees was more than worth the purchase price of the gun."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Video - Brick Top

A relative recently ran into the Cockney actor Alan Ford.  He played Brick Top in the Guy Ritchie movie "Snatch."  He has a way of playing bad people like nobody else.  Here he is explaining the finer points of body removal.  If you're easily offended then you may want to miss this 2:20 minutes clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyEBXTL1Y3U

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Camping - Sunday's Column

With the day's shortening and the nights growing colder, it's the end of the camping season.  This Sunday's column is devoted to the activity with some thoughts about it.  You can read the article at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131101/camping-is-a-wonderful-thing-in-moderation

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Right Track - Obamacare

I have not weighed in on the Obamacare business much here.  Having come from a country that has enforced socialized medicine, naturally I'm aware of all the horrors, and like most people while I lived there, I bought private health insurance.  Yes, most people do if they can afford it as the National Health Service is so bad.  But if Americans want a foretaste then just look at the roll-out of the on-line program.  If a Web site is causing this much difficulty I dread to think what it's going to be like when the government is running it all, which is truly their ambition. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tirade - Recess

A Washington state school district has recently made the decision to ban all hard balls from the playground during recess.  This includes footballs, baseballs, lacrosse balls and I assume soccer balls.  The reason given by the woman superintendent was that there were too many injuries caused by these items.  Now one has to ask how much risk can you take out of life for these types of individuals.  Do they imagine that out in the real world there is no risk at all?  One of the people involved with the decision said to a reporter that as far as she was concerned one skinned knee was one skinned knee too many.  Later in the day I heard a man interviewed who had a gym a block away from one of these schools and he said his kids' class was jammed.  They liked to climb ropes, throw balls - even dodge ball, the new horror of school life - and other fun things.  Is it any wonder he's doing well?  Come On People!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Music Track - Segovia

This week's track is a short tribute to two of music's great talents.  J.S. Back and Andres Segovia  - Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBQfHJA2Lng

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Campsite Sight

On what was to be my last camping night this season, I was sitting in my fold up chair listening to my iPod and generally communing with nature, the way you're supposed to do while camping.  Along came this bride in full regalia and was about to enter a trailer parked across from me.  I took my camera and asked if she minded if I took a photo as she was so beautiful.  She sportingly agreed.  She was rather pretty and the occasion I thought demanded a shot.  (Being a very old man I can now approach young women with some degree of impunity!) After all you don't see people dressed like this in a campsite very often if at all.  She soon appeared with her two children.  I never saw the groom.  Does anybody get married these days without their children in attendance?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I've never had any real respect for actors.  It always seems to me that most of them just play themselves when they go on screen.  Perhaps Alec Guiness was an exception. But Sinatra, John Wayne and most of the others who were lauded in Hollywood just seemed to me to be themselves, and I've often thought I could do just as well.
I went along to see Captain Phillips the other day and found it a pretty good film.  In the final scene when Tom Hanks is rescued from his ordeal, he is taken to the sick bay on board the US Navy ship and looked after by a nurse.  He is in a great deal of shock and seeing him handle this and try and recover from it, made me realise that it was something I could never do.  Hats off to Mr. Hanks!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Video - Rainbow Mountains

This is not a real video but a series of photographs you have to click through. http://www.parade.com/63549/linzlowe/where-in-the-world-are-these-incredible-rainbow-mountains/
I'm grateful to my friend Kevin for these wonderful shots of a place I had never heard about before.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sweeney Art Gallery - Sunday's Column

This week we visit downtown Riverside, which has become quite the center of culture with five sites to easily walk to.  This includes historic Mission Inn, but initially we begin with the Sweeney Art gallery, which is showing an exhibition by New York artist, Amy Myers, whose large scale paintings are worth spending some time with.  Unfortunately my stupid program won't allow me to rotate Ms. Myers so you'll have to twist your head.  You can read the entire column at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131026/enjoy-the-art-in-the-heart-of-downtown-riverside

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Right Track - Ben Stein

I'm grateful to my friend Bob on the East Coast for this piece of insight by the great Ben Stein. It says it all.  I was also sent the same cartoon by Denise down in Florida.  Also Geoffrey in S/Bernardino.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tirade - Liberals

The other day I got into a discussion with a liberal.  I try to avoid this as much as possible but from time to time, in spite of keeping away from such nests one falls in.  It was extremely frustrating as he was very cross about my positions.  I didn't give it a lot of thought until I heard someone quote the late great William F. Buckley.  He said: "Liberals claim to want to hear opposing viewpoints; then they are shocked and offended that there are opposing viewpoints."  I shall try to remember that in future, in the meantime, Come on People!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Music Track - Adams

I don't put a lot of modern "Classical" music on the Music Track as it can be quite hard to tackle.  But this piece is quite good fun.  It's A Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams and it was written less than twenty years ago.  It's typical of Adams with its chugging rhythms - no doubt influenced by Stravinsky.  It lasts 4:27 mins and the animations are quite good to go along with it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi4A9bPDvTc

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Wall - part 3

The wall is arranged in order of the casualties.  In other words the height of the wall is greater in the middle of the war and less at the beginning and the end.  Here is the final panel of the dates when the conflict ended -  just five names.  How tragic for their families to have this sad notoriety.