Friday, May 31, 2013

Tirade - Bare Feet

We have a number of vacation rental properties around us, mostly let out on weekends and public holidays.  With the economy so bad at the moment, there is always a shortage of renters however.  I have noticed a disturbing trend among them recently.  They seem to like to go barefooted.  I mean in and out of their rental houses to fetch stuff from their cars.  The other day a family arrived and all got out of their vehicle minus their shoes.  The father had obviously driven in this state.  I can only imagine the condition of their soles, and wonder if this is carried into bed.  One can give them the benefit of the doubt, but the next morning out they all came with still no shoes.  I don't think this is a trend to be encouraged or are we as a species reverting to our native state?  Come on People!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Music Track - Eagles

This was one of the first music tracks I posted nearly three years ago.  I still think it's pretty good - particularly the words.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


A year ago, I posted that we were regularly visited by a pair of Mallard ducks.  She Who Must Be Obeyed had been feeding them the previous year and she was delighted that they had come back to her after the winter.  If you read the previous post  you'll see that unfortuntely "our" pair had been quacking off at the local watering hole about their treatment here and others had joined in.  S.W.M.B.O. is spending a lot of time - and money - feeding them and it's come as no surprise to me that their numbers are increasing.  I'm thinking of having the seed delivered in bulk!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The other day we had an earthquake close to Palm Springs.  It was reported to be a 5.2, but later revised to a 4.7.  Within a couple of hours, Ms. Kate Hutton appeared on TV doing her usual thing.  Now I've noticed this is a sort of guaranteed aftershock that always occurs - Kate Hutton's appearance.  Like a Secretary of State she never actually tells you anything that you didn't know, but unlike a Secretary of Sate she's been doing it for decades.  She works at Cal Tech's geological department, and is in her sixties I suppose, considering how long she's been doing this.  My question is what is the point?  She's spent all her life studying earthquakes and still they have no idea of when or where they are likely to occur.  As we're trying to save money here's an idea.  Let's just put on a recording of her and add a subtitle to point out the actual epicenter; we'd learn the same stuff.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Video - Three Tricks

I'm grateful to my friend Tony in England for this 3:30 minutes video.  Does anybody have any idea how he does these tricks?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday's Column - Gilman Ranch

This week we visit the famous Gilman Ranch in Banning not far from Palm Springs.  It's an interesting place with a museum devoted to wagons and other forms of travel.
On my visit, I was met by Herb Spencer who was waxing long and hard about their new "Mud Wagon" that had just arrived from the restorers.  In my ignorance, I assumed that this was a rather nasty dirty thing, but as you can see here along with Herb it's pretty nice.  The term "Mud" comes from the fact that travelers from Los Angeles in the 19th century ran out of paved road around S/Bernardino and the way would often be just mud.  In order to cope, the wheels were much thicker, so as not to sink in.  You can read the column at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Right Track - Wild Bill

I"m grateful to my friend Kevin in the Marina for sending me this link.  I'm truly shocked that these facts were not reported by the media!  Now what if the people he names had been members of the infamous Tea Party...?  It takes about 1:58 minutes.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tirade - Gun Crime

I'm sure if you stopped the average person in the street and asked them if gun crime has gone up or down in the last two decades, they would almost certainly say, it's gone up.  Such is the drumbeat of the media about the horrors of gun ownership, according to the usual suspects.  However the authorities have recently released statistics that show since 1993, the number of gun homicides has actually dropped by 39%.  Who would have thought it?  Also the number of non-homicidal gun crimes has dropped by 69%  Now the leftists think this proves that no-one now needs firearms, but perhaps it's better to suggest that as so many Americans, have "armed up," criminals don't want to take the chance.  What do you think?  Come on People!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Music Track - Ravel

Pure descriptive music by Ravel.  Jeaux d'eau (fountains). The pianist's hands are worth watching all the way through. It takes about five minutes

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


We have this little bird house hanging on a wall here.  It's not in the best of shape and I was planning to fix it up soon. 

It's been empty for several years - the entrance is quite small and therefore limits the type of bird that can use it.  No Steller's jays, or pigeons here, thank you.

Well, we have a lot of Mountain Chickadees here.  They love the trees with all the pine seeds and insects, their principal diet.  They are hard to spot if you don't know them as they have a habit of perching in the trees where they just whistle at you.  It sounds a little like "We're in the money!"  A very cheerful sound.

Now one of these little fellows has decided to take possession of the bird house, in advance of me fixing it up.  I'm a little concerned that the bottom of the house might fall off, but still he's in and out of there all day. Furthermore, he's now decided to do the place up himself.  I didn't think that chickadees were woodpecker types, but this little chap is banging away in there.  We think he's already put up pictures, and now he's making bookcases.  He's at it most afternoons and into the early evening.  Naturally we can't disturb him in his work.  But be sure once the family has arrived, grown up and flown off for the winter break, I shall get a grip of his house.  Certainly I shall strengthen the floor.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Press Kit

I went on an assignment the other day and before going - it was to be on a weekend so no-one at the PR dept was around - I asked if they could leave a press kit at the desk for me along with the necessary pass.  It's a normal thing as it gives you details that you might miss on a general tour around the premises.

Some of these kits can be quite bulky and I often have to ask the desk to hang on to them while I wander about.  However this time, and it was at the LA Science Center, all the information they handed out was aboard this little thumb drive.  I think that's a great step forward, don't you?
About a year ago I went on a trip and was handed a business card that was also a thumb drive.  At the time I thought this would be the way of the future, but I've not yet received another one.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Video - Skidboot

You may have seen this video but if not, it's 8 1/2 minutes on a remarkable dog - Skidboot - in Texas.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Right Track - Tantrum

Recently the President had a little tantrum on TV about his gun control law failing to pass in the Senate.  For several weeks we have had the dubious spectacle of him trolling the grieving families of the Sandy Hook murders around to shore up support for more background checks and smaller magazines.  We also have to endure the sad sight of Gabby Giffords, who underwent the shooting two years ago by a maniac in Arizona.  What all these sorry people refuse to accept is that the legislation was voted down because it would not have impeded any of the recent tragedies.  More importantly we just don't trust the government to handle a "register" of gun owners.  Many of us believe that the libs want full confiscation, and therefore we will resist what they propose to make that any easier.  Please note that an extreme partisan "dem" and the leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, also voted it down - for whatever reason.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Trevor's Tirade - Bombs

The loathsome little creatures who blew up the Boston marathon have at least awoken the up-to-now sleeping public.  We are at war, in spite of our current leaders wanting to pretend that if we play nice then our foes will as well.  It's never worked before in history, but every generation produces those who believe if they could "just talk to them nicely they'll come around."  In the 1970's, London was hit with a series of bombs courtesy of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).  The result of this terror was to produce an ever vigilant public who could spot a left bag or knapsack in an instant.  No doubt the USA will become similarly sensitive.  In the words of the old phrase: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  So Come on People!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Music Track - Bream

This is five minutes of sheer technical brilliance, and it's hard to accept that this is one musician and not an overlay of several tracks.  Julian Bream is also an Englishman and not Spanish.  The video accompanying this piece, "Memories of Alhambra" also shows how Islam dominated the southern part of Spain before the 17th century. It just so happens that my friend Paul, in England is having a short trip down to the south of Spain today.  I wish him "bon voyage."  I'm also rather envious!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Launch Day!

Although the Hurricane was launched a week ago, apart from driving it round to its berth from the ramp, it's taken a week for us to get out on the water.  Well we finally went out for our first cruise of the season on a perfect day.  Flat water, few other craft and warm temperatures.  Here we are back again in our dock, where S.W.M.B.O. and the boys have hidden themselves in the shade.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chris Ross - R.I.P.

I was very sorry to hear of the death of an old friend, Chris Ross of Woking, England.  I first met Chris in the early 60's when we both would play snooker at the Woking Conservative Club, when it was located on the main street of the town.  When the club moved just outside the center we moved our games with it.  He was a brilliant player and eventually won both the English amateur snooker championship, and also the national billiard championship.  He had a maximum break of 147 in Epsom once, and knowing I worked there he hoped I might wander in at the momentous moment.  For years he was stuck on 136 which he achieved on the night Kennedy was assassinated.  He taught me a lot about the game and very occasionally I would beat him, but it was only very occasionally!  He was a master of positional play, and he was a joy to watch. I last met him at the Woking Snooker Center where this picture was taken.  It was about ten years ago.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Video - Birds of Paradise

When my friend Paul in England sent me this video - I though it might be a clip from Valley Girls!  However it seems to be genuinely about flying objects in Borneo.  It takes about 5:30 and is well worth the time to watch.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday's Column - West Inn and Suites

This week my column was wrested away from me by Frankie - the senior of the two Poodles who share our lives.  The article is about the West Inn and Suites down in Carlsbad, a dog friendly hotel.  We had been there before to write about the hotel and restaurants, but this time we stayed and checked out the overnight facilities.  Naturally the "boys"came along and Frankie did quite a nice piece on it from a dog's point of view.  You can read the entire article at

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Right Track - Taxes

It's a fairly well known and accepted fact that those on the left like to raise taxes, while those on the right want to lower them.  It's a struggle that has been going on throughout out my lifetime.  Now the president has submitted his budget and no surprise that being on the left of things, he wants more taxes.

Now what I'd like to know is how much is enough?  It's a simple question, but one I've never heard an argument on.  Many years ago when Dennis Healey was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK we had a top rate of 99%. Naturally it didn't generate any extra revenues.  So how much is enough?  How much should the government be able to take from the wage packets of those still lucky enough to have a job?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tirade - Boston

No doubt you are a little tired of the continuing media obssession with why the Boston bombers did what they did.  I received this interesting email from my friend Jim in Pasadena, it explains a lot.  Not why they did it but who cares.  Read on...
Now the news media will spend days trying to determine why these men did what they did in Boston. They will want to know what America did to make these brothers so angry with us. They will want to know why these men were not arrested before they did something unlawful. The media will be in a tissy about the new era of home grown radicals and about how they could live among us and still hate us.
Here in west Texas, I have rattlesnakes on my place. I have killed a rattlesnake on the front porch. I have killed a rattlesnake on the back porch. I have killed rattlesnakes in the barn, in the shop and on the driveway. I kill every rattlesnake I encounter. I kill rattlesnakes because a rattlesnake will bite me and inflict me with poison. I don’t stop to wonder why a rattlesnake will bite me. It will bite me because it is a rattlesnake and that is what rattlesnakes do. I don’t try to reason with a rattlesnake…I just kill it. I don’t try to get to know the rattlesnake better so that I can find a way to live with the rattlesnakes and convince them not to bite me…I just kill them. I don’t quiz a rattlesnake to see if I can find out where the other snakes are because (a) it won’t tell me (b) I already know that they live on my place…I just kill the rattlesnake and move on to the next one. I don’t look for ways that I might be able to change the rattlesnake to a non poison rat snake. I just kill it. Oh, and on occasion I kill a rat snake, because I thought it was a rattlesnake at the time. Also, I know that for every rattlesnake that I kill, two more lurk out there. In my lifetime I will never be able to rid my place of rattlesnakes. Do I fear them? No! Do I respect what they can do to me? Yes! And because of that respect I give them their fair justice….I kill them. Maybe as a country we should give more credit to the jihadist just being a rattlesnake!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Music Track - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

I'm a big fan of the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone.  I was sent this interesting track by my friend Kevin in the Marina.  It's a different approach and after a lead in of about 1:15 you'll get to the recognisable part.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I've posted a couple of comments about TV's recently.  We've had a little activity on that front and not the least was an experience with our main TV about a month ago.  It went wrong.  It didn't just fade away like the old ones used to do, but it lost its picture and instead made a really loud buzzing electronic noise, which scared the dogs.  We began looking at adverts for a replacement and even went to the local store.  It's a fairly big item so we were not in a rush as we could still coax the old one - about three years old by the way - into life by switching it off and on.
Now, when I buy electronics I'm always offered their extended warranty and I usually refuse, having a childlike belief in the march of technology.  So it was an odd instinct that made me look in my files and there I found a warranty for this set.  I was amazed and She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO) looked glowingly at me for quite some time!  As a result an attempt was made by the firm's man to repair the TV, but in the end, I was offered a free replacement.  As I wrapped up the deal at the store they offered me another extended warranty; you can be sure I agreed to it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flat Screens

This week sees the last of our boxy TV's going to charity.  It's not that easy getting rid of such items these days and the local secondhand shop turned its nose up at my offer.  Having had a rental unit or two and a second home, we seem to have overloaded on the TV's and I'm not sorry to see this batch go.
We are now a flat screen only family and I'm happy about that.  Looking back to my first TV when I was about 14, things seem to have developed incredibly in my lifetime.  The only problem now is that even a big flat screen is easy for a burglar to pick up and carry out of the house.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Video - Two Minute History

I'm grateful to my friend Don in Orange County for this superb two minute history of the world.  When it comes to human history, I'm reminded of Isaak Asimov's quotation about it: "A dark turbulent stream of folly, punctuated by occasional flashes of genius."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Right Track - Racism

This is the second cartoon that I received from my friend Jim in Pasadena.  I think I identify with the little boy in this one very much.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tirade - Emergency Alert System

Once again the do-gooders are dominating our lives.  In yet another attempt to remove all risk from our simple existances, we now have the Emergency Alert System.  Now I'm not totally against the idea, but really do we have to test this thing all the time.  When one is watching something on TV, is it really necessary for this nasty electronic buzz to start.  There are some shadowy graphics put on the screen and then an unpleasant bureaucratic voice telling us what to do in the case of an emergency.  It reminds me of Big Brother.  Could we not take a chance and accept that in the most unlikely event of a real emergency, which we will no doubt be too late to avoid anyway, that this vile intrusion be left alone and not constantly tested.  Or would that mean some department would have to close down or at least contract?  Come on People!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Music Track - Freedom

I haven't seen the movie Django Unchained, but one thing I know is that it will have some great music in it.  Tarantino movies always do.  Here is a track from it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Global Warming?

I'm going to stray into dangerous waters here.  I've always been a little sceptical about global warming - particularly when the proponents of it tried to alter the name to climate change.  It seems that the argument is based around having to pay more in fines and taxes, or be labelled a "denyer" or worse some type of heretic.  The fact remains that in my seven decades, I've not noticed a lot of change and I've never heard a serious debate on the subject.  Once again believers are only interested in shutting down any opposition.

I read an article in the British paper The Daily Telegraph on the subject the other day.  It showed this graph, which I'm sure is accurate.  A number of commentators at the bottom of the article swore the facts had been manipulated with doubtful start and stop dates.  But as with any religion, and this seems to have reached that level, advocates will never accept counter theories.  So the argument goes on.  But in the meantime could someone tell me how in Medieval times, England produced so many wine grapes that the French had to put an embargo on them.  England's climate is not warm enough to grow wine grapes without glasshouse heating, which they didn't have in those far off times.  They also had many fewer people and no evil fossil fuels.  Beats me!