Thursday, February 28, 2013

Music Track - Glen Miller

This is 4:44 minutes of pure sentimentality.  When I started going to public dances in the late fifties, most of the bands were trying to sound like this.  Very few made it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bomb Sight

My friend John in England sent me this interesting site.  It's a map of where all the bombs fell in WWII on London.  America was lucky to be so far away from the enemy's reach, but unfortunately next time maybe not so.  It takes a little time to figure out the way it works, but go first to the information button which will explain it all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Passfield Special

One of those little snacky lunches that are a treat is grilled cheese on toast.  For years I thought it was called a "Welsh Rabbit."  However in my teens I found out it was in fact called a Welsh Rarebit, which helped clear up the confusion as to why welsh rabbits were so odd compared to the English type.
Now of course, if you want an upgrade to business class you can order a Buck Rarebit, which has a poached egg on top.

Now there is one other upgrade you can take straight into first class which is a Passfield Special.  This culinary delicacy was served to me some fifty years ago in the Passfield Arms, near Aldershot - the home of the British army.  It is a slice of buttered toast with a slice of ham, then grilled cheese, with a poached egg on top.  Like lots of upgrades in life, it's tough going back to economy afterwards!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Video - Glock

With all the talk of gun restrictions and executive orders, here is another aspect to the business that one should consider.  It doesn't take long!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday's Column - Wrightwood

This week's column was on Mountain High Ski Resort at Wrightwood.  As soon as The Sun gets it on line you can read about it too!  They have a magic carpet ride for novices to avoid having to ride a ski lift to get to the top of the bunny slopes.  There are actually three different areas at Mountain High and you can get a shuttle between them.  You will be able to read the column eventually at

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Right Track - D-Day 1944 as reported today

I'm grateful to my friend Geoffrey for sending me this - it's rather sad in a way.

How D-Day Would be Reported Today
June 6, 1944. - NORMANDY-
Three hundred French civilians were killed and thousands more wounded today in the first hours of America's invasion of continental Europe. Casualties were heaviest among women and children.
Most of the French casualties were the result of artillery fire from American ships attempting to knock out German fortifications prior to the landing of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops. Reports from a makeshift hospital in the French town of St. Mere Eglise said the carnage was far worse than the French had anticipated and reaction against the American invasion was running high.
"We are dying for no reason," said a Frenchman speaking on condition of anonymity. "Americans can't even shoot straight. I never thought I'd say this, but life was better under Adolph Hitler."
The invasion also caused severe environmental damage. American troops, tanks, trucks and machinery destroyed miles of pristine shoreline and thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive wetlands. It was believed that the habitat of the spineless French crab was completely wiped out, threatening the species with extinction.
A representative of Greenpeace said his organization, which had tried to stall the invasion for over a year, was appalled at the destruction, but not surprised.
"This is just another example of how the military destroys the environment without a second thought, " said Christine Moanmore. "And it's all about corporate greed."
Contacted at his Manhattan condo, a member of the French government-in-exile who abandoned Paris when Hitler invaded said the invasion was based solely on American financial interests. "Everyone knows the President Roosevelt has ties to big beer," said Pierre LeWimp. "Once the German beer industry is conquered, Roosevelt's beer cronies will control the world market and make a fortune."
Administration supporters said America's aggressive actions were based in part on the assertions of controversial scientist Albert Einstein, who sent a letter to Roosevelt speculating that the Germans were developing a secret weapon, a so-called "atomic bomb." Such a weapon could produce casualties on a scale never seen before and cause environmental damage that could last for thousands of years.
Hitler has denied having such a weapon and international inspectors were unable to locate such weapons even after spending two long weekends in Germany.
Shortly after the invasion began, reports surfaced that German prisoners had been abused by Americans. Mistreatment of Jews by Germans at so-called "concentration camps" has been rumored but so far, remains unproven.
Several thousand Americans died during the first hours of the invasion and French officials are concerned that uncollected corpses pose a public health risk. "The Americans should have planned for this in advance," they said. "It's their mess and we don't intend to clean it up."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tirade - Racism

I fear the term racist is used far too much.  Mostly it's to stop people making criticisms which mostly are deserved.  I saw a program the other day where a very exotic girl said she was always being asked what she was.  She found it insulting, and believed it was a way to pigeon hole her by race.  I think that's truly sad, and I'm sure she would have been "insulted" by me.  I believe I'm not a racist but I am naturally curious, and if confronted by this girl I'm sure I would have asked her what her heritage was.  Purely because I would have found her of interest.  Would she have me ignore her?  I'm constantly being asked where I came from because it seems I have an accent.  Forgetting that in fact it's not me that has one!  In order to fall in line should I be insulted that people are trying to pigeon hole me by the way I speak?  Come on People!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Music Track - Boccherini - Fandango!

This is seven minutes long, but rather unique in two ways.  It has a problem with one of the channels so you can only listen with one ear.  Also is shows the effect of castanets, which we don't hear a lot of these days - well perhaps in Spain.  Anyway, it's Boccherini's Fandango and quite a lot of fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rolls Razor

I wonder how many of you are familiar with a Rolls Razor?  It was a product my father used to use every morning in the early fifties.  One forgets that shaving was always a problem for men before the days of throwaway razors like Bics and their followers.  The Rolls Razor worked with a hollow blade that could be stropped on either a leather or a stone surface.  The unique feature was that the stropping took place in its own container and not on a strap hanging up or a stone outside - my grandfather used a straight edge and honed it occasionally on the doorstep.

Here is a picture of a Rolls Razor open to show the looped handle and the blade.  The lid holds the stone whereas the underneath holds the leather.  I well remember waking up to the sound of the flip-flop of my father stropping his blade.  Once honed, the blade was twisted sideways and then fitted onto a separate handle, which I don't have.  I bought this many years ago in the UK at a junk shop - purely for the memories.

A giant replica of the distinctive case was used as the company's front door in Cricklewood, North London until it closed around 1959.  The factory was then bought by John Bloom, who brought the twin tub washing machine to the market sometime in the early sixties - do you remember him?  If you want to learn more this is the link Purely one for the Brits, this one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I found myself short of cash the other day and I was well outside my area.  No problem; I went to the nearest ATM and agreed to pay the small fee as it wasn't my bank.  Who could object for the use of this convenient device?  I remember the very first ATM that I used to use.  It was around 1966, I think.  The system was that the bank gave you a little punched card - about two inches by one inch.  You were also given a number - your PIN - and when you wanted some cash, you inserted the card, punched in the number and out came a little wallet with about 5 pounds in it. This was a sizeable amount back then as a bank manager was making about 25 pounds a week.
Well, here is where the system was different to today.  The ATM swallowed the little card and it was ultimately sent back to you by mail, which took about a week.  You see this system was really only for emergencies back then.  Mostly if you needed cash you asked the local landlord of a pub and wrote him a check.  Of course, you had to know the place well.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Video - Baseballs

I'm grateful to my friend Keith for sending me this fascinating video on how baseballs are made.  I had no idea that it was such a labor intensive process.  It takes about five minutes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday's Column - Kate's Lazy Desert

The desert is about to come into its own again.  It's cold in the winter, but spring is just around the corner and time to enjoy some of the unique features like the wonderful views out there.
Kate's Lazy Desert is a new facility to allow people to spend some quality time with a shiny Airstream trailer as a temporary home away from home.  There are just six situated around a small pool and each one is decorated in strong primary colors which add to the fun.  It's a great place to relax away from city cares and stress. You can read the entire column at

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Right Track - Dorner

So the ex-cop, cop killer is dead.  In spite of massive police presence up here in Big Bear, he was largely caught through his own incompetence - he crashed  three cars!  I find it sad however, that his obvious left leaning views as expressed in his so-called manifesto have not been covered.  When you think back to the furor of the Gabby Giffords shooting, and also the Colorado theater shooting, not a word has been said about his beliefs.  In the aforementioned cases, both shooters were prematurely linked to the Tea Party and in one case ABC's Brian Ross went on Good Morning America to claim the movie theater killer was in the Tea Party.  Both incidences were proved incorrect, and both men were eventually discovered to be left leaning.  Where is the President to demand a more civil discourse as he did when Giffords was shot?  Complete silence.  Where are the demands for the closure, or at least the censure of left wing programs like MSNBC?  Is it just me, or is there perhaps the faintest odor of a self-serving double standard here?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tirade - Devices

I think we need to begin to enforce some basic rules regarding "devices." Yes, that means iPhones, tablets, iPads and the other things that we all seem to need so much.  I'm not saying they should go, but let's try and decide when and more importantly where they are used.  My friend Paul and I have been discussing this recently since his train ride up to town.  One fellow passenger was using a tablet and a couple of smart  phones on the journey.  No doubt he was very pleased with himself, showing how busy and therefore important he was.  My reaction would be to think how inefficient he must have been to need to do all that.  Obviously the job was beyond him.
Oh, and if you are on a date, it is the height of bad manners to sit and play with the damned thing in front of your companion!  Come on People!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Music Track - Heaven's Gate

Here is another track from the unsuccessful film, Heaven's Gate, which I liked very much.  I believe scientists have found that triple time music - the waltz - is the most stimulating to the human ear.  In which case I wonder why we don't hear it so much these days.  This is a great little scene from the film and obviously fun to have made for both of them.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gun Control

Recently a TV program confronted a number of gun control advocates with the offer of free signs.  The signs showed a gun in a red circle with a diagonal red line through it.  The words read "We're proud that our home is a gun free zone!"  It was suggested that these advocates should post these signs outside their houses.  Not one of the advocates took up the offer.  Now contrast my friend Brian's sign in his garage...
...He says the garage door is open a lot.  I think it sends an ideal message.  Now why wouldn't the gun control advocates want a gun free sign?  They insist that our schools be publicized as gun free zones after all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Manners Maketh Man

When I was quite young, my father was a demon for manners.  He often quoted the old adage that manners maketh man.  I remember how he would grip me just above the elbow should I fail to raise my hat to a lady.  Also when we were travelling on London's "tube" he would insist that I always give up my seat in a crowded compartment if a lady was left to stand.  But today, reading some correspondence on this subject in a UK paper, I see that these customs are fast disappearing from use.  This is not just due to men forgetting, or not being taught the basics of chivalry, but also by being rebuffed by women.  Rather sad!
There was one account of a man opening a door for a woman, who crossly said: "Did you do that just because I'm a lady?" To which the man replied: "No, because, I am a gentleman!" Fortunately, manners seems to be going strong in Asia, so all is not lost.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Video - Marriage Proposal

This is in extremely bad taste, but also very funny.  I'm grateful to my friend Paul for sending it to me.  The Scottish accent is very thick, hence the subtitles.  If you're easily offended you may want to skip this post.
But might I suggest that it's time you unwound a little, you'll feel so much better, believe me!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday's Column - Astronomy

I'm glad to see that The Sun has finally got the column for last week and this one too up on the site - not sure what the problem is but it's been rectified.  This week we look over our heads to the skies.  We have a fine small observatory located just outside Sky Forest on the Rim of the World Highway.  It has lectures regularly and for those with an interest in the world beyond us it's an ideal place to visit.
The center of the observatory is a 16” Schmidt-Cassegram telescope that has a “go-to” system with access to over 200 million images, which seems a lot to me.  If you'd like to read more please go to

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Right Track - State

This could just as easily be a Tirade as it's apolitical and a "pox on both their houses!"  Do we really need a State Department?  I mean really, is it necessary to have someone swanning around all over the world, doing what exactly?  I believe Mrs.Clinton, who I think has performed the role as well as anyone, bar the upset in Benghazi, has racked up over 100 countries in her four years in office.  Apart from no doubt adding to her waistline with all the rubber chicken dinners and copious cocktail parties, what exactly has she achieved?  I don't think the so-called brilliant Condaleeza Rice did any better.  I used to hear her talk after some crisis or another and never learned anything from the woman.  Recently a retired Marine was incarcerated in Mexico unjustly.  Did the State Dept get him out?  No, it was Bill O'Reilly of the Fox News Channel.  In the last ten years, the Arabs hate us just as much, the Persians even more so and Pakistan is a basket case, in spite of numerous trips - to do what precisely?  So let's seriously look at this department and see if we can't at least pare it down.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tirade - Facebook

I don't mind Facebook; I look at it most days.  But I've noticed a disturbing trend recently.  The habit people have of posting pictures of the food they're about to eat. Now really, is this the best we can come up with?

I appreciate that most lives are somewhat mundane, but just think about it; does anyone enjoy seeing other people's food displayed, no doubt at a time when the viewer is not about to undertake such an event.

Now, even worse, how does a greasy pork chop appeal first thing in the morning?
Come on people!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Music Track - Sweet Breeze

I played a music track from a film the other day; it was not a very successful film but I liked it and the music too.  Here is one of the main themes from anoher movie that should have been successful but wasn't.  It's Heaven's Gate with Kris Kristoferson - see what you think.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Very Old Rolls

I'm grateful to my brother-in-law Tony for sending me this interesting piece.

Mr. Allen Swift ( Springfield , MA.) received this 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly-P1 Roadster from his father, brand new - as a graduation gift in 1928.

He drove it up until his recent the age of 102.

He was the oldest  living owner of a car that was purchased new.

It was donated to a Springfield museum after his death.

It has 1,070,000 miles on it, still runs like a Swiss watch, dead silent at any speed and is in perfect cosmetic condition. (82 years). That's approximately 13,048 miles per year (1087 per  month).

They don't make them like they used to!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Recently along with a group of friends I've been considering some of my favorite places in the world.  Having submitted my list of five, I realised that I left out one, Holland.  It's a much underrated country but I spent a lot of time there.  It has an atmosphere all its own and some of the finest scenery.  Of course, you have to drop your eyes down in admiring the place as it really is flat, but up close there is much to enjoy and if I ever get the chance I would like to go back there again.  They do have a funny tradition of putting nutmeg on their brussel sprouts however; this I truly disliked!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Video - TV

I want one of these.  My friend Denise sent me this; I wonder if she's bought one yet?  I'm sure they're not too expensive!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday's Column - Presidents

This Sunday's column was about the two presidential libraries we have in S. California.  The above is Nixon's library in Yorba Linda; Regan's library is in Simi Valley.  What always impresses me is the grandeur of Reagan's and the much more modest place of Nixon.  Both presidents are buried at these libraries, and a visit is always an interesting experience.  When The Sun gets the piece up on its site, you'll be able to read it at

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Right Track - Chicago

Many thanks to my friend Don in Orange County for this interesting stuff on the "windy city!"

Should the U.S.should pull out of Chicago?
Body count: In the last six months - 292 killed (murdered) in Chicago (221 killed in Iraq)
President:  Barack Hussein Obama (d)
Senator: Dick Durbin (d)
House Representative: Jesse Jackson Jr. (d) (Not for much longer although he was still elected in absentia in 2012)
Governor: Pat Quinn (d)
House leader: Mike Madigan (d)
Atty. Gen.: Lisa Madigan (d) (daughter of Mike)
Mayor: Rahm Emanuel (d)
The leadership in Illinois- every one Democrats.  Not a single Republican they can blame - Oh, except George W. Bush (r),  of course.
Thank you for the combat zone in Chicago.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tirade - death

I know that it has become fashionable to change the name of things we feel uncomfortable about.  I've lived long enough to notice the many changes for the name of non-white people.  I'm not sure what good that has done for them but it's happened nonetheless.  When I was a child, it was considered polite to refer to any woman as a "lady," no matter her station in life.  Somehow that seems to have gone into disuse, which makes me feel a little odd at times.
The latest nonsense I note is the fashion of referring to people who have died as having "passed."  Now what is that all about?  Does that make the death any easier to bear?  What's next? "Gone into a state with which we cannot communicate?" Come on People!