Monday, September 30, 2013

London 1927

Last week I posted a video sent to me showing London in 1927.  Unfortunately the link didn't work so I've changed it to one that does on the original post.  Here it is

Video - Economic Warfare by Fire

This video is a little long (8:45) and the fellow is rather dry, but it makes a lot of sense and maybe we should take great note of what he says.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Temecula - Sunday's Column

City Hall, Temecula
Temecula is the subject of today's column.  I've been going past here since my arrival in 1981, and stopping here since about the mid-nineties.  It's grown a great deal but the old town is still much as it must have been around the early part of the last century.  At least the city planners have made it that way.  It has a lot of charm and is well worth a visit. you can read the entire column at

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Right Track - Republican or Democrat

For those non-Americans, who might be somewhat confused as to what exactly a Republican or a Democrat stands for, here is a great four minute video by a black state senator on why he switched parties.  I'm grateful to my friend Kevin for sending it to me.
It has always been accepted that black people vote democrat, who profess to be the party of the little guy.  But is that really the case or just folklore?  Incidentally for further clarification, the reason that there is usually an elephant on this post is that it is the symbol of the Republican party.  The Democrat symbol is a donkey.  So you have a big lumbering animal or a fool - take your pick!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tirade - Written Language

In some of the parts of Montana and Wyoming, these characters began to appear on some of the sign posts.  I was interested to know what they were, although I did have a suspicion. I stopped at a roadside check where boats were inspected before being allowed further - (see the post on Quagga mussels a year or two ago.)  The young man there on duty confirmed my suspicions that this was Indian writing.  But I said: "I was told that there were no Indian written languages."  He replied that the Blackfeet Indians did in fact have one and this writing was to help keep alive the tradition.  Further research on the Net states that the only indigent people to have a written language in the Americas were the Mayans in Central America.  It seems that a number of Europeans in the 19th century began to write down the sounds of various Indian dialects and this is the script shown above.  Frankly I fail to understand the reason for clinging to a "tradition" that is surely of no use to anyone in the modern world, where a mastery of English is the way for anyone to get ahead with a reasonable job with prospects. Come on People!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Music Track - Shawshank

I saw a rerun of the Shawshank Redemption the other evening.  There is a scene in it where the hero, Andy, finds a recording, and after locking himself into the governor's office he plays it over the PA to all the prisoners in the yard.  As his friend Red said in the commentary: "I don't know what those two ladies were singing about, but at that moment every man (in the prison) was free."
The little prank cost Andy two weeks in the hole.  But the music is divine!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How Things Change

I was driving past a local school the other day and noticed an electrical sign saying "All children who wish to do sports must have a medical."  It was the complete reverse of when I was at school when the rule was if you wanted to avoid sports, which were a minimum of three afternoons a week, you had to have a letter from a doctor saying you couldn't participate.  I can still remember many of the very few who were unable.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I'm not a great fan of poetry as I largely lost my interest when they stopped rhyming the lines.  But I found this the other day in a book I was reading about the 1700's, and the amount of smuggling that went on along the south coast of England.  Everybody was in on it and out to avoid the excisemen!

If you wake at midnight and hear a horse's feet
Don't go drawing back the blind or looking in the street.
Them that ask no question isn't told a lie.
So watch the wall my darlings while the gentlemen ride by.

Four and twenty ponies, riding through the dark,
Brandy for the postman, baccy for the clerk;
Laces for the lady, letters for the spy.
Watch the wall my darlings while the gentlemen ride by.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Video - London 1927

I'm grateful to my friend Stan in England for this terrific video of London taken in 1927.  It's interesting to see how black the buildings used to be before the great clean up in the late sixties.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Day of Autumn

Today we wave good bye to summer and welcome autumn.  As usual it's time to change the color scheme as we do each season.  I hope you like it.  If not let me know at

Emma Jean's - Sunday's Column

I'm not a reviewer of food, but on my travels food is often a part of the trip.  This is particularly so when a group of Harley riders go off for a run, which is what we did thew other day.  Leaving before the heat sets in our destination this time was Emma Jean's just on the outside of Victorville.  It's a great place and you can read all about it a

Brian and Shawna Gentry who now run Emma Jean's

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Right Track - Taxes

It's a widely held belief that liberals like high taxes (on the rich, of course!) While conservatives want low taxes.  But surely after so long there must be some definitive understanding of how effective taxing is.  After all if there is no tax then the government receives no money, and if the tax rate is 100% then again the income to the government would be zero as no-one would work - what would be the point.  Here is a five-minute video that looks at the most effective rate to get the best amount of income.  But what's the point of such studies as we have a president who went on record as saying that he didn't care how effective a rate was as it just seemed so much fairer if "rich" people paid more.  I assume "rich" to mean anyone who's making more than you! Well, that certainly gives everyone a better understanding of things doesn't it?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tirade - Formal Dress?

The other evening there was a wedding reception at our local watering hole.  There was the usual motley crowd of guests including the ubiquitous number of young children running around uncontrolled.  Everyone was awaiting the happy couple, and eventually they appeared in full regalia.  She was in the usual white gown which was cut well and had a longish train.  He on the other hand had let the entire dress thing slide.  He was wearing a dark pork pie hat with a minute brim; a faded charcoal gray suit jacket; a white shirt hanging outside the trousers, a pale bow tie, skinny jeans and at the base of it all old basketball sneakers with pronounced white laces.  Now I ask you with a husband dressed like that on supposedly this most important day, what chance have they got?  Come on People!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Music Track - I Love LA!

After watching a recent game of baseball at Dodger Stadium at the end they played what seems to have become LA's anthem - I love LA, by Randy Newman.  I think the video is getting a bit dated but it's still fun -

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Emptiness - Santa Fe Station

I had a little time to spare the other day when I was in San Bernardino.  I was in the area of the station and wandered in to see what was going on.  I found that there was not too much happening.  They have two Amtrack trains stopping each day and at the end of the station out of sight is the Metrolink with regular trains to Los Angeles' Union Station.  Other than that nothing but the regular long freight train passing by slowly.
It's another example of the changing face of the country as more and more traditional aspects of life are being used less and less.

The emptiness of the waiting room just shows how little the place is used now.  There are photos on the wall showing the large number of people milling around a year after the concrete station was built in 1918.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Minor League Baseball

We went down to watch our local minor league baseball team, the Inland Empire 66ers the other day.  It was a lot of fun.  Minor league baseball games are not as long as their big brothers in the majors and they make quite a lot of mistakes.  The 66ers are single "A" and that means there are another two levels before they get into the majors.

Bernie the Mascot
Also there is a lot more "entertainment" going on.  In fact it never seems to stop.  There is a mascot called Bernie who wanders around and they are always having little competitions for the kids in attendance, like running between the bases, and asking questions about the team.

One little boy was given the job of announcing the players as they came up to bat.

They even had a special category for the dirtiest car in the parking lot.  Perhaps all this is to make up for the paucity of the actual game, although that too is quite a lot of fun.  It's cheap too; provided you keep away from the concessions.  They are wicked!

Monday, September 16, 2013


I'm grateful to my friend Denise in Florida for this scary look into the future - it can happen!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Right Track - Global Cooling?

I note that the UK's Daily Mail reported very recently that the amount of sea ice had dramatically increased over the last year.  Photographs by NASA had shown the Arctic's increase had actually risen by 60%.  Of course, the media welcomed this news with great enthusiasm and elation, as it now means that the fear of global warming has finally gone away.  I'm afraid the last sentence is pure fiction!  Nothing has been reported on this event by the major networks.  Sadly they are now in the corner of supporting the fiction that they have always done, as it plays into the fear they enjoy inflicting on us, and also supports the cause of higher taxation which for some reason they think benefits mankind.  Also this week I note that the top 1% of earners are wealthier since Obama came to power while the remaining 99% are poorer.  Socialism anybody?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tirade - Presidential Powers

Once again we have the usual fight on our hands about whether a President can go to war on his say so alone.  I can remember the same argument when Reagan went into Grenada; Bush 41 went into Iraq the first time; Clinton went into Bosnia and Oh the squealing about Bush 43 going into Iraq again.  Even if he had over 30 countries, the backing of the UN and a vote in favor by Congress.  But can we please settle the issue.  Under what circumstances can a President go to war - or sort of war or bomb or whatever aggressive behavior?  Surely it's not beyond the pointy heads in Washington to get a formula that we can all understand and then we'll all - including future Presidents - know the limits and boundaries.  Come on People!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Orange Bird

This little fellow appeared the other day on our deck.  I have never seen one like him before.  Checking through my bird book, I think it might be a member of the Oriole family.  Does anyone know for certain?
You can tell me at

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


My father, and both my grandfathers, always carried a small penknife with them.  It was a part of them and they would no more think of being without one, than of not having a handkerchief.  My father used to say to me that he couldn't understand why I didn't do the same. But I never found the need for a knife.  Penknives were carried originally as the name implies to cut the quills that served as pens.  Nibs needed trimming and shaping.  But I never used a quill and had no need to trim one, nor as far as I know did my elder relatives.  But the habit remained with them.  For me, I tried to comply but I became fed up with the thing always being there and occasionally wearing a hole in my pocket.  About the only time I regularly carry a knife is when I'm on one of my long motorcycling camping trips, and there they come into their own.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Video - The Shard

I'm grateful to my friend Stan in England for this interesting zoom around the city of London.  I was last there close to two years ago and while visiting the Tower of London, we could see The Shard being completed.  Unfortunately the mist was hanging over it and we couldn't see the top.  You can use your mouse to scroll around and also zoom in on various sights.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Yellowstone - Sunday's Column

Geysers erupting in Yellowstone

Sunday's column takes us up to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.  It's quite a place and one where it's best to take a guided tour, which is what we did on our trip.  It's a very big place and the first National Park dedicated to the people of the United States.  Situated as it is on top of a caldera, which is the top of a volcano, you might feel a little insecure.  But it's been 650,000 years since it went off.  Scientists have estimated that eruptions should occur on a regular basis.  The next one forecasted - about now!  You can read the entire piece at

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Right Track - Syria

This wretched president of ours has caused me to change my mind on this business several times.  Having backed us into a corner by laying down a red line a year ago we are now in a position where we will lose all credibility if we do not act in this matter of the dictator Bashir and his chemical weapons.  No matter that he's killed 100,000 of his fellow citizens up to now with nary a mutter from the White House.  I would naturally follow the lead of the President even though I was uncomfortable about some type of strike, but the results of this are so hard to define, and he certainly hasn't defined them at all, that I feel it's best we just push the entire business over to the Arab league or the UN and watch as the slaughter goes on.  No matter what however, might I suggest that this current regime of ours tells Bashir's neighbors that in future they will be expected to handle their own affairs in the region - or we will stop sending them all those shiny new guns and aircraft.  After all, what do they need them for if they can't step up to the plate?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tirade - Children where they shouldn't be!

The other evening I was enjoying a small beverage at a local watering hole, and away to the side a family were dining.  Part of the group were two small children.  They had obviously finished their meal and by now the kids - about 3 and 4 years of age - were getting restless.  They resorted to the well tried method of running up and down the restaurant and bar, while squealing.  It was only a question of time before they discovered the popcorn machine and began to put their hands inside.  Eventually the father wandered over just as I was looking their way.  He said: "Are they annoying you?" To which I replied that they did seem to be running around a lot. He then said: "Perhaps you could come over to the table and tell me about it as it would help me to quieten them down!" I declined and said I was merely concerned they they might burn themselves on the popcorn machine.  But really, is the fellow so bereft of ways to control his children without involving the annoyance of others.  Come on People!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Music Track - Dorabella

It's been some time since we had some Elgar so here is a small excerpt from the Enigma Variations - Number Eight.  It's called Dorabella after a character in Cosi Fan Tutti.  It's only 2:49 minutes and it includes the little stutter that the real Dora had.  She was a frequent visitor to the Elgar house in the 1890's.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Food Pictures

This is not a tirade as such, but I have to say I'm not a big fan of people posting pictures of their food on social networks.  Frankly, it might be the highlight of their day, but for the rest of us we probably wouldn't have ordered it and therefore don't much fancy it

However the other evening I was doing a piece on the fabulous Pechanga Resort and Casino and they rather sportingly bought my - and S.W.M.B.O.'s - dinner.  Now I try not to hammer the expenses when people are so generous, but they had this fine fellow on the menu and frankly I couldn't resist him.  So apologies to all who are trying to eat their cornflakes.  It's been a very long time since I indulged this way and I have to say it was delicious!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I dropped it!

It's been over twenty years since I dropped a motorcycle.  Back then I had failed to put down the kickstand while making a phone call from a phone box - remember them?  Well, that time it just broke the lens of a turn signal and as I was just along the road from Bartells, the HD dealer, I went in to get a replacement.  I put the broken pieces on the counter and Chico the always-ready-for-a-laugh salesman grabbed the PA mike and announced:  Everyone, Trevor's just dropped his bike!!  Thank you Chico!  That was about 21 years ago.  This time was different.  I was only turning at a slow walking pace on gravel, and yes, you've guessed it, I put my foot down and it slipped.  Down the bike went.  But it did confirm one thing.  I can't lift the beast up by myself.  I had to get Michael to help me.  I had often wondered!  The good news? Not a scratch of damage.  Those engine guards really work!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Great Adventure - Sunday's Column

This Sunday's column was about the Great Adventure we recently took - if you're not bored stiff by it already.  It is the first of three pieces; the next being Yellowstone and then finally the visit to Glacier National Park.  Here we are rolling out of the driveway with just 3190 miles to go!  You can read the entire column at


A few days ago, I posted a video of a Japanese man who has developed a machine to convert plastic into oil.  I stated that this had been sent to me by my brother-in-law, Tony.  It seems that it was my old snooker pal, Tony, from Woking who sent it to me.  Sorry about that!

Video - Wimmin!

I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for this insighful video on how to deal with female problems.  It explains a lot.