Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday's Column - Claremont Hotel 425

This week we visit the lovely village of Claremont.  The column has been there for several articles but this one was to a small hotel - the Hotel Casa 425.

Right in the middle of the village, this charming place is one of a number of hotels owned by the Four Sisters Group; and yes, there are four sisters.   You can read the entire article at

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tirade - Authorities

I don't know if like me you've become aware of the annoying practise of elected officials hogging microphones during press briefings on current events.  I first noticed it during Swartzenegger's term as Governor.  He was opening something or other, and the first fifteen minutes were given over to introducing this bureaucrat or that.  Then each bureaucrat spoke doing exactly the same thing.  Most of them were totally unknown to me, and I couldn't see the point.
Well, recently we've had a very bad fire around the north of the county and we were to be given a briefing by a fire chief on how things were developing.  Now normally I would have expected a fellow standing before a map with a pointer telling the story.  We did get that but not before a parade of "elected officials" giving their schpiel, which told us absolutely nothing.  So here's an idea; at the next election how about each candidate swearing that once elected they won't ever appear at press briefings giving us all grandstand appearances.  Come on People!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Music Track - Billy Jean

I saw these fellows on an early morning TV show as I was passing though on the way to my office.  I think the interchange between them is fascinating.  See what you think.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


This week I attended my first High School graduation ceremony.  It tried very hard to avoid it saying that someone should stay behind and care for the dogs, but She Who Must Be Obeyed was having none of it. So after a two-hour drive, I had the opportunity of sitting on a hard metal chair on a football field while 417 children filed passed hearing their names called out.  I didn't know 416 of them!  Once again I was aware that such a formality was put on primarily for the benefit of the teachers, who got to speak to a larger class than normal, and then a long way second came the children.  In between we were lectured by various sanctimonious teenagers who lauded us to do the right thing and help our fellow humans.  Ayn Rand would have spun in her grave if she could have heard all the altruism that was floating around.  It took two hours and once again there was no attempt by the authorities to assist with parking spaces.  I shall not attend one again.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


On an assignment the other day we were just about to go into the facility when we spotted this chap walking around the entrance.  Quite the most magnificent colors and bearing; but Oh the dreadful voice on him.  Because of course, it is a him.  The female is a rather dowdy little thing.  It turned out that there were several peacocks in this place and they made a heck of a din.  Some years ago I had a friend who lived on a small road where a neighbor kept half a dozen peacocks.  The noise they made was so bad the other residents got up a petition to have them removed as they were creating a public nuisance.  It seems a real design flaw to have them look so wonderful and sound so bad.  Perhaps we could genetically modify them to sound  more like, say a small pigeon!  Coo-coo!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Video - Special Pill

As we continue to struggle to level the playing field, finally the Brits have come up with a great idea - and it's so much easier to administer than fiddling about with taxes. The video explains it all and it only takes about 2 minutes.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday's Column - Downtown LA

Disney Concert Hall
This week we look at downtown Los Angeles.  And yes there is a definite downtown.  Many people have criticized LA because they say there is no center, and that may have been the case thirty years ago when I first came out, but not today.  And not only is there a downtown but it's on two levels.  The lower part is devoted to commercial endeavours, but the upper part is all culture.  And this includes the fabulous Disney Concert Hall.  You can read the entire column at

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Right Track - Divorce Terms

This came to me some time ago.  It was written by a law student and found its way into my email.

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, regressives, Marxists, and Obama supporters, 
We have stuck together since the late 1950s for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course.
Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.
Here is a model separation agreement:
1. Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by land mass, each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy. Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.
2. We don't like redistributive taxes, so you can keep them.
3. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
4. Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA, and the military.
5. We'll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and you can go with wind, solar, and bio-diesel.
6. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore, and Rosie O'Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them.
7. We'll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart, and Wall Street.
8. You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless homeboys, hippies, druggies, and illegal aliens.
9. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks.
10. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood .
11. You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to
invade and hammer places that threaten us.
12. You can have the peace-niks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.
13. We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.
14. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness, and Shirley McLain. You can also have the U.N., but we will no longer be paying the bill.
15. We'll keep the SUV's, pickup trucks, and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volvo station wagon you can find.
16. You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors..
17. We'll continue to believe healthcare is an earned luxury and not a right.
18. We'll keep "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The National Anthem."
19. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine", "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", "Kum Ba Ya," or "We Are the World".
20. We'll practice trickledown economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.
21. Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our constitution and our flag.
22. Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you know which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.
John J. Wall
Law Student and an American. 

P.S.: Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Barbara Streisand, and Jane Fonda with you.
P.S.S..: And you won't have to "Press 1 for English" when you call our country. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer is here!

As it's the first day of summer, a change in the color scheme.  I hope everyone likes it.

Tirade - Manners Again

We went to the cinema the other day - that means "movie theater" in US speak.  We were held up in local traffic and arrived when the lights were out.  What is with the total darkness of these places anyway?  I remember years ago being able to see enough to be able to move around safely, but those day have gone, along with usherettes!.
So we had to stand at the back to let our eyes get  used to the darkness, and this can take some time as when it happens we always seem to be at some dreadful scene of horror in a trailer.  Well, eventually we could make out a couple of seats and made our way to them.  Naturally this entailed passing in front of people sitting down.
Now it's a hard fact, but sitting down and trying to swing your folded up legs around is not as effective as standing up and pulling your feet backwards.  This is not tough stuff to figure out.  So as the custom of standing up to let others pass by has gone, then those remaining sitting down will have their feet trampled upon.  Sorry, that's just the way we're made, and it's not my fault.  Come on People!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Music Track - Lehrer

Those of you under the age of 60 will almost certainly never of heard of this fellow or his genre.  He is Tom Lehrer and his type of entertainment is the comic song.  With the demise of burlesque, the music hall and revues the comic song has disappeared from sight.  And yet it was a staple of previous generations.  Perhaps Rap is comic, I don't know as I can never understand the words.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Global Hawk

This is a photo of the Global Hawk UAV that recently returned from the war zone under it's own power.(Iraq to Edward's AFB in CA) - Not transported via C5 or C17.  It has performed over 250 missions.  That's a long way for a remotely piloted aircraft.  Think of the technology as well as the required quality of the data link to fly it remotely from a source thousands of miles away..

Not only that, but the pilot controls it from a nice warm control panel at Edwards AFB, CA.  It can stay up for almost 2 days at altitudes above 60k.

The Global Hawk is controlled via satellite.  It flew missions that went from Edwards AFB and back nonstop.

Basically, they come into the fight at a high mach 3 using military thrust power,
fire their AMRAAMS, and no one ever sees them or paints with radar.  There is practically no radio chatter because all the guys in the flight are tied together electronically  and can see who is targeting who, and they have AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems) direct input, as well as 360 degree situational awareness from that and other sensors.

The enemy had a definite morale problem before it was all over. It is to air superiority what the jet engine was to aviation. It can taxi out, take off, fly a mission, return, land and taxi back on its own.  There are no blackouts, pilot fatigue, relief tubes, ejection seats, and best of all, no dead pilots, and no POWs...
I'm gratefrul to my friend Stan in England for sending me this.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pacific Crest Trail

I ran into an old friend the other day.  Her ambition she told me was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail next year.  Probably starting in April, which seems to be the optimum month for this.  She's thirty something and so this mammoth task should be well within her fitness range.  The PCT is 2,663 miles long and runs from the border with Mexico right up through the Sierras through Oregon and Washington state to the Canadian border.  It's estimated that about 300 people start this hike every year but only about 180 finish it.  The object is to camp for three or four days and then perhaps rest up in a motel off the Trail, and attend to matters like replenishing food and a visit to an ATM.  The route passes along Big Bear Lake to the north of us.  With an aimed 20 miles a day, one has to put aside six months to complete the journey.  Enough time to allow for problems.  I would dearly like to do it myself, but I wonder if the lower joints would hold up.  Perhaps a large quantity of Aleve and definitely a good pair of boots.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Video - LandFillarmonic

I'm grateful to my friend Don in Orange County for this interesting and uplifting video of underprivileged children and their instruments.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Right Track - Troubles

The administration does seem to have some problems at the moment.  Benghazi, the IRS, and the raid on the AP's phone records have all alerted an otherwise supportive media.  As usual, and this is the same with all political parties, the immediate reaction is to circle the wagons, but as history has shown us, the truth will come out eventually.  The main problem seems that perhaps more so than any other this administration has created a kind of "group think."  It's not necessary for the top guys to give out orders, the entire organisation is in lock step ideologically.  It reminds me of the event that occured on December 29th, 1170.  That was the day that four knights arrived in Canterbury Cathedral after King Henry II had said: "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest!"  He didn't have to give the order, but Thomas A'Becket was dead as soon as the knights arrived.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tirade - Carbon Emmission

I've often wondered why scientists don't tell us how much carbon is sent up into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions.  Could it be that it interferes with their global warming theories.  I'm grateful to my friend Kevin for this insight from a Professor Ian Plimer.

Okay, here's the bombshell.  The volcanic eruption in Iceland, since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2emissions on our planet - all of you. 
Of course you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress - it’s that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans and all animal life. 
I know, it's very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of: driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kid's "The Green Revolution" science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50 cents light bulbs with $10.00 light bulbs ...well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.
The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days - yes - FOUR DAYS ONLY by that volcano in Iceland, has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon.  And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud at any one time - EVERY DAY.
I don't really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth.  Yes folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year - think about it. 
Of course I shouldn't spoil this touchy-feely tree-hugging moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keep happening, despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change. 
And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years.  And it happens every year.
Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you on the basis of the bogus “human-caused” climate change scenario.
Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention “Global Warming” any more, but just“Climate Change” - you know why?  It’s because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past century and these global warming bull artists got caught with their pants down. 
And just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme - that whopping new tax - imposed on you, that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer.  It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.

But hey, relax, give the world a hug and have a nice day!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Music Track - Dudley

When I was 21, I lived in Southampton, Hampshire.  Our local TV station was Southern Television and late at night, when I used to keep late hours, they would often have the Dudley Moore Trio on.  This was long before he became an international celebratory.  He was an outstanding musician and had won an organ scholarship to Oxford.  Here he is with a short music video from 1965.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I suppose some sort of celebration is in order as yesterday was the third anniversary of the start of this blog.  Hard to realize that there have been 1134 separate posts since I began this on June 11, 2010.  I have Al Quizon to blame for it all as he suggested during one of our podcast recordings for The Sun that I did it.  I had no idea it would still be going three years later.  Well, on to the fourth, I guess!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Snow Flowers

A couple of years ago I posted a picture of these odd flowers.  I didn't know at the time what they were called, but found out later they were Snow Flowers Sarcodes sanguinea.  The live close to fir trees as they take nourishment from the roots of the trees.  In fact they are somewhat parasitical.  On our walk the other day we saw this collection of 18 of them. Normally you only see them in ones and two, but this must be some sort of record. No leaves, or branches, just these fleshy red flowers,  Very different.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Video - Giraffes having fun.

I'm grateful to my friend Kevin for this fun video.
As he said in his email to me: "What did we do before we had computers?"

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday's Column - Palm Springs Art

Dave McGary's "Walk Among the Stars"

When I went down to Palm Springs to research the piece for this Sunday's article, it reached a balmy 85 degrees.  Today it's much higher and well over 100.  The new museum in Palm Desert has been open now for just over a year and already has received 20,000 visitors.  I didn't look at any of the art inside the building, as I spent all my time walking around the outside sculpture garden, which has some very interesting pieces.  You can read the entire article at

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Right Track - IRS

If anything shows up the corruption of big government, it's this latest IRS scandal.  Now can anybody imagine the furor if it was George W. Bush's administration in charge of things and if the audits and delaying tactics were being perpetrated on Move On, and other leftists?  There would have been a special prosecutor on the case immediately.  Huckabee interviewed a woman who had applied for tax free status and as a result was investigated 17 times, by a variety of federal agencies, including Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.  Her "crime" was forming a small group to make sure that elections were fair and that dead people were removed from the electoral rolls.  Serious stuff!  The result of this intimidation by a supposedly bias-free agency is that many such groups could not make the contribution to the 2012 election that they had hoped.  Can anyone say disenfranchisement.  I'm sure Jesse Jackson can say it.  But I doubt he would.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Trevor's Tirade - Table Manners

I was appalled the other day when I saw a newsclip showing a dining table full of graduating students from a prestigious university being taught table manners.  At this late stage in their life, what had they been doing before?  Eating out of a trough?  The university charges around $50,000 a year to teach them their preferred subjects so they obviously had parents with some money.  However I was sitting at the bar the other day -  for the more sensitive readers this rarely happens!! - and there was a 50-year old quite respectable woman next to me.  She ordered some food and when it arrived complete with knife and fork all wrapped up in a paper napkin (Incidentally the correct word for such an item is a serviette, but we won't split hairs here.)  After the first mouthful she used the napkin and then threw it down between us on the bar top.  Not a pleasant image as her rather messy meal progressed.  Now the rule for the very few of you who do not know, or who did not have a tartar of a father red hot on such matters, is any napkin should never appear above the table unless it is used briefly to dab the lips, and then replaced upon the lap!  This is not tough stuff to figure out!  Come on People!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Music Track - Dick Barton

Now you have to be really old to remember this.  It's the theme music from Dick Barton; Special Agent.  It used to run for fifteen minutes every weekday evening at 6:45 on the BBC.  The nation was riveted to its set to hear the latest episode of the special agent and his two henchmen, Jock and Snowy.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Male Bird's had enough

I was sent this picture by my friend Keith in the desert.  I shows a male bird who's had enough....

It made me laugh!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


We've recently been watching the BBC series Downton Abbey.  It's an excellent production although basically an Edwardian soap opera.  Two things I picked up that were not right however, and it's great to catch out the experts in these things as it makes one feel so smug.  Firstly in one scene at a village flower show, held in a church hall, all the men were wearing their hats.
Now this was 100 years ago, and I can tell you that one main difference between American men and Englishmen is that the latter were congenitally incapable of wearing their hats indoors.  Even back in the 50's and 60's, men would wrench the things off if they ever went undercover.
Secondly, the gentleman's gentleman who cared for the Earl, referred to himself as a valet with the last syllable sounding like "let."  This is an American pronunciation and in fact it would be pronounced va - lay!  Trust me on this!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Video - Gun Safety

I'm grateful to my friend Denise in Florida for this insightful video which only lasts about two minutes and it's well worth your time.

Plaxico Burress was a star wide receiver for the NFL's New York Giants.  He accidently shot himself when he pulled out a gun in a nightclub about three years ago.  Apparently part of his sentence was to do a public service announcement warning kids about the importance of gun safety.  Here it is.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday's Column - Pi-town

This week we visit Pioneertown which is about halfway to Palm Springs going the back way.  It's a place that was used as a movie set by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry in the late forties.  Gradually the place took on a more permanent presence and today there is a fine bar, a motel and a bowling alley.  The latter is up for sale if you want to get into that business.

You can read the entire article at
Mane Street Pioneertown, CA.

The only traffic allowed along the main street is hoof and foot traffic hence the title "mane" street.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Right Track - Intolerance

I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for this insightful cartoon on tolerance.