Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday's Column - Edwards Mansion

The Edwards Mansion in Redlands is a fine Victorian blue and pink building on the "wrong" side of the Freeway.  Like most people I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that the City of Redlands is on the south side of the Ten.  But there is a little piece just to the north of the great east west highway and it is to this piece back in 1978, the Edwards Mansion was towed.  It was cut in half and then moved five miles from its original site to this new home.  The pace was so smooth that a coke bottle that had been left on a ledge was still in place on arrival.  You can read the entire column at

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Right Track - Kimmel Live

I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for sending me this little video from Jimmy Kimmel Live.  I think it helps to understand how the mind of the low information voter works.  At least at 2: 40 we get an honest answer.

And to think we allow these types of people to cast a ballot.  Is there some way to put a control on it.  How about a background check?  They seem very popular these days.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tirade - Knox

I saw this on a pub wall in England a few years ago.
Definition of Heaven - All the police are British, All the cooks are French, All the mechanics are German, All the lovers are Italian, and the entire thing is run by the Swiss.
Definition of Hell - All the police are German; all the cooks are British; all the mechanics are French, all the lovers are Swiss, and the whole thing is run by the Italians!
Now I print this after hearing about the amazing case of Amanda Knox, who after it seemed years of legal shenanigans was found not guilty of murdering her flat mate.  Now in tribute to their superb organisational skills the Italians have decided that perhaps she was guilty after all and are going to re-try the case.  Can anyone say double jeopardy?  Come on (Italian) People!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Music Track - Bach Invention

This is only 1: 33 long.  It's Bach's Invention Number 1 played by the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.  Gould died rather prematurely and he was a somewhat eccentric man - a true genius however.  When quite young, his father made him a special chair that was very low and he always used this when he played, lugging it from venue to venue.  You can see him carrying it at 1:14.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Plugs and Sockets

What is it with these engineers? Why can't they leave stuff alone?  It's been bad enough learning where all the wretched plugs go into the TV sockets at the back over the years, but then when we've just about got it down they go and change things.
We had to change our TV the other day - the old one developed some nasty sort of disease.    I installed the new TV, and I even managed to get the remote re-programed which was a major coup.  But then came time to add on the DVD player and the stereo tuner.  As far as I'm concerned the previous system was complicated, but not too much.  Now in the interests of simplification, the rules and the wires have been changed again.  I'm getting to the stage where I hate change!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


We're close to putting these things away for the season, but not quite.  They are anti-slip devices to stop you falling in the snow.  I usually fall down once year, but made it almost though February before I went base over apex.  We put these boots and "chains" on if it snows and we want to walk the dogs, and they are very efficient. However if a snow plough has gone through and then snow comes down to cover his tracks, it's likely that you won't see the danger and these won't help you on ice.  I was striding along confidently when whoosh down I went.  I've developed a sort of crouching fall to save my shoulders which I've damaged a few years past, but unfortunately this time it caused me to wrench my knee.  Ah the joys of aging.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Video - CPR

This is a video sent to me by my brother-in-law, Tony.  It's about five minutes long,  but it may help to save a life so watch it if you can.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday's Column - Pomona Coolege of Art

This week concerns a visit to the Pomona College of Art.  It's a manageable place with very modern paintings.  I was most interested in a group of four paintings by Kristen Eckenberg which were quite stirring. You can read the entire piece at

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Right Track - Obamacare

The full effects of Obama's socialised medicine are not yet to be felt.  But I can report on one problem.  My doctor is likely to go out of business.  He runs a very efficient but small practice - two nurses, a receptionist, who helps with the paperwork and I think someone in the back office to do the lion's share of the forms.  In order to be compensated for his patients on medicare - quite a lot of us as we live in a retirement area - he has to update all his paper records to electronic ones.  This is to allow the government to audit his charges on line.  Don't totalitarians love control!  Well, the cost of this update is well over $150,000 and not surprisingly he can't afford it.  His choice?  Leave the hill and work for a large HMO plan down there, or more likely close his practice and work for another doctor.  Progress????

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tirade - Sequestration

Now let me see if I've got this right.  We can't agree on how much to cut or spend, so the President decides to take such a punitive amount out of the economy that both sides will buckle and listen to reason. Now neither side has listened and so the cuts are in place.  Four days before the event Homeland Security decided to let up to 3,000 illegals prisoners out of jail.  Remember when Castro did that?  Also Saddam Hussein?  Of course, that was done to create chaos.  Come on People!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Music Track - Winwood

This was playing in the gym the other day.  It took me back to the 80's.  I think it's pretty good.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


As I reported recently I took a fall on some ice and wrenched my knee.  It became progressively painful and I was at a loss to know quite what to do.  As a refugee from British socialist medicine, I, along with my fellow citizens, have been trained to avoid doctors' offices like the plague.  Even if you can get an appointment, unless you are actively hemorrhaging or a piece of you that you deem important is looking like it might fall off, you keep away.


But I'm in America now and things are (for the meantime anyway) different.  So I went along, got the first appointment the next day, ahead of the walking dead who are always there first.  After the intitial weigh-in and blood pressure check - all in order there - I was seen by the doctor in five minutes flat.  He looked at it, prodded it and went out to return with some needles.  One to see if an anaesthetic would work, then after it did, another, followed by a third deeper in. 

The entire process took about ten minutes which gave us plenty of time to talk about the world and to catch up. 

After a ten-minute stop-over to pick up some pills for the next four days, I was already 50% better and by the evening 90%!  Ain't American medicine wonderful!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Spring begins officially on Wednesday the 20th.  So as usual there is a change to the color scheme of the blog - I hope you like it!


Like most Brits of that age, we didn't have a television until 1953.  That was when the coronation took place at Westminster Abbey; the Queen had assumed the title immediately her father King George VI died a year earlier.  So we went to the shop in the town that sold TV's, but they were very expensive and way outside my father's budget.  Therefore we did what most Brits did under the circumstances, we rented the set.  It was a nine-inch Murphy as I remember and it had two knobs on the front and about four round the back.  My father was always twiddling to get the vertical hold right and also the horizontal.  It used to drive my mother crazy.  There was one TV station, the BBC - that was it.  It usually began at 7:00 in the evening and shut off at 11:00, but we thought it was great.  There were two transmitting stations that covered the UK, one in Sutton Colefield and the other in Alexandra Palace; if you were outside those areas, you'd had it.  But we all had the radio anyway, which up to then had been our main form of entertainment.  Around 1955 a new channel opened up, this was the commercial channel where adverts were played, and they were quite good as I remember.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Video - Mindreader

My friend Kevin sent me this video.  It's pretty scary and you need to watch it to the end.  There's no hiding place left, it seems.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday's Column - Cruise Ships

This week we look at some of the problems that have happened on cruise ships recently.  They have been fairly brutal with perhaps the worst being toilet problems!  Believe me you don't want to be in a situation with unlimited food and blocked toilets!  So there are a number of things you can do beforehand and in the column we cover some of them.  You can read the entire piece at

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Right Track - Clipping on Evil Republicans

I'm grateful to my friend Kevin for sending me this newspaper clipping of a supposedly genuine letter to a newspaper.  Obviously this fellow is one of the "low information" voters who are keeping idiots in power.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tirade - Manners - again!

Normally on tirades about social mores, my venom is directed at the younger of our community.  This time however, it's against my own generation. 
With the departure of winter, it seems more people are turning up at our excellent gym.  Perhaps a glance down at the aged and crinkling bodies has shown them that too much time has been spent at the lunch counter.  Anyway these old people are going around their circuits using equipment on very low levels.  Instead of moving on to the next station, and letting others use the piece of equipment, they sit, and sit, and sit.  Sometimes they play with their iPods; even get out their phones and make a call. Perhaps someone of the younger generation could tell these pathetic old people that the seats are not there to rest on.  Come on People!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Music Track - Disco!
I'm never quite sure how music fashions come and go.  To me interesting music is always just that - interesting.  But things do change for people and not always for the best.  The fashion of Disco came and went in the late seventies.  At the time I rather liked its energy and rhythm,  Perhaps the most readily identifiable voice of that era was Donna Summer, who died so sadly last year at age 63.  Also the Bee-Gees who I never liked by the way.  But that's just me.  Here's hot stuff by Ms. Summer.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I have a small theory.  When things are going poorly in a society, people reflect this by wearing dark or very muted colors.  Recently, I've noticed that the number of dark colored cars far outweighs the brightest colered ones; I would say by an 85 to 15 ratio.  This is just a rough estimate as I certainly haven't carried out any proper count.

Similarly I've noticed that dark colored clothing is much more popular than brighter stuff.  And this is at a time when technology has made it much easier to produce bright colors for nearly everything we use.  But it's not drawing many buyers.  Why is this?  My theory is that in spite of being told that everything is getting better, people can tell that they are not improving.  Hence a need to become less flamboyant and leaving the bright seventies type clothing in the back of the closet.  It's a shame, I think.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Clocks Back!

By now everybody should have adjusted to their clocks going forward -  unless you live in Arizona of course, where they enjoy permanent summer time.  This is another thing we can blame George W. Bush for.  He signed into law that we could put our clocks forward a couple of weeks earlier than normal and leave them the same a couple of weeks longer in the fall.  Considering that I used to regularly fly around the country and also abroad with some quite difficult time changes, I can't understand why just one hour's difference messes me up so much.  Just another annoying aspect of the aging process, I supppose.  I wish someone would explain why we have to do this twice a year.  I see no benefit in it at all.  Why can't we just stick with permanent summer time, like Arizona.  But for now let's just blame George W. Bush!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Video - My New Snow Shovel

Having shovelled my fair share of snow this winter, I can truly appreciate this.  Funnily enough it was sent to me by my friend Denise who lives in Florida.  No shovelling for her!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday's Column - RAFFMA

This week we visit the Robert and Francis Fullerton Museum at the State University of San Bernardino or RAFFMA as they prefer to be called.  It's always an interesting place to go as they have several visiting exhibits as well as a permanent one of ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Here is Eva Kirsch in front of a photograph of some Chicana Art from one of the walls in LA.  The city used to have many of these types of mural, but with the passing of time most of them have disappeared.  Fortunately photographic records are still around for us to enjoy, as it is an art form that is quite unique.
You can read the entire article at

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Right Track - Newtown, CT

I'm grateful to my friend Brian for this interesting track.  It's a father of a child - not one who was killed - in the Connecticut town of Newtown, where the Sandy Hook school experienced the tragedy that killed so many children.  His response has naturally not been covered by the Media.  I wonder why?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tirade - Sequester

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is pretty tired of our politicians arranging monthly crises for us to endure.  If it's not another fiscal cliff it's now the sequestration.  Is it me or does anyone resent the amount of aid we give to those who hate us around the world, while our leaders threaten to cut off help to deserving people here. 
I remember years ago in the UK, there was some similar event, manufactured by the Pols.  Immediately, the grass was left to grow on the roads and roundabouts, and the facilites for mentally challenged people were closed.  How unpleasant these politicians must be.  But here, we can afford to send a bunch of F-15 fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  How stupid is that?  Come on People!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Music Track - Pathetique

This is sheer genius, both on the part of the composer, Beethoven, and also the pianist, Barenboim.  It's about 4:50 minutes and the tempo, and the quality of tone are perfect.  See if you agree with me.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Although I was born a pretty long time ago, I've always had electricity at hand.  One set of grandparents had limited service with some rooms only lit by paraffin - I can still recall the smell it sent out when you went in there.  Mostly we had just a couple of "power points," and of course the hanging center light cords.  But it was there for us and it was only during the latter stages of the war that we experienced "power cuts."  Then you'd be plunged into darkness.
It doesn't happen too much these days, but up in the mountains we get power outages as everything is above ground on poles and wind and snow will take out transformers.
The other day, while composing something amazingly important on the computer, the power went.  And it didn't come back for a couple of hours.  There is nothing more annoying under these circumstances than to wander into a room looking for something and putting on the light switch and nothing happens.  One feels such a fool.
A couple of Christmases ago we had a power outage that lasted for a full day.  We had our 15-year old grandson with us and his frustration at not being able to access his electronic games was something to see.  But grandma produced that wonderful standby - board games.  We survived, but it gave us all a greater appreciation of one of modern life's necessities.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Today marks the 115th birthday of the World's oldest woman, Misao Okawa.  Last week she was given a plaque for  being the world's oldest by the Guinness Book of Records.
I can't say she looks particularly happy at the award, but then if you were born in 1898, you're probably pretty ticked off with everything by now.  Anyway today is her birthday and I hope she enjoys it.  There is a Japanese man who is about forty days older than her.  And there are 54,000 people in Japan who are over the age of 100.  Amazing!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Video - Glacier

I'm grateful to my friend Geoffrey for sending me this video of a glacier "calving."  It' takes about 4:30 and shows you the force of nature - amazing stuff!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday's Column - Colton Museum

This week is about a visit to the Colton Area Museum.  The building is rather fine and is in itself of some interest.  The great industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, arrived from his native Scotland virtually penniless.  He rose to great wealth and he put it down to his being having access to a good library and being able to read.  As a consequence, he donated 1,689 libraries to the country and Colton's served in that function from 1904 until it closed and moved its volumes in 1984.

Today the museum houses a lot of different artifacts from the past including a special section devoted to the Earp family.  Virgil became the first sheriff, and Wyatt was known to have stayed with him several times. Morgan, who died as a result of the fight at the OK corral is buried nearby as well.

If you go to the column at you will also find out what the word "brake-beam" means!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Right Track - Feminism

I think I've always been a feminist.  It always seemed logical to me, and we had several females in the family too.  There was never any doubt that when it came to home matters, my mother's view was law.  I've never understood why women cannot receive equal pay to men for equal work either.  But I do have some reservations regarding putting women into front line positions in the military.  For a start, it's accepted that women are not as physically strong as men, and we do not under any circumstances want to lower the standards of the training that they have to complete.  If you are alongside someone on the battle lines, I think it's reasonable to want that other person to be able to get you out of there if the need arises.  Secondly, front line troops do have to live in pretty rough conditions, often with minimal clothing and a total lack of privacy. Is this a reasonable atmosphere for women, or are we gong to have to re-jig the entire approach to cater for them?  The final concern I have is the fear of having them captured.  Do we seriously believe that their captors will behave like gentlemen?  And what effect will this have on the morale of the rest of the troop and also the country?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Trevor's Tirade - Titles

Have you noticed that one absolute certainty of guilt these days - well if you're a man - is that the media and the authorities start calling you Mr.?  There is no better confirmation of guilt than to hear a sheriff or deputy refer to you as Mr. Summons.  With that title, the party is over.  Even OJ was referred to as Mr. Simpson!
Growing up as a child, one was always referred to by one's Christian name - that's first name for people living on the left hand side of the Atlantic.  To be called by one's honorific was something to strive for.  But then there was this weird American idea that if you called people by their Christian name everyone would get along better. Why?  There is nothing more annoying to me than to have some child come up to me and call me Trevor, when I haven't invited him to do so.  But maybe that's just me.  Nonetheless, if we can refer to criminals as Mr., why not the rest of us?  Surely a criminal on the run, like our local "hero" Dorner, loses any respect and should be referred to by only his surname. Come on People!