Tuesday, December 31, 2013


We have quite a lot of Robins up here.  Unlike their British cousins however, these are quite large - maybe about 6 - 8 inches.  Whereas the British ones are only about 4 inches.  Maybe they've been bred on a diet of too many McDonald's here to make them that way.
The other day I was waiting for S.W.M.B.O. outside our local Post Office where there is a little park with some trees around.  There must have been some ten or twelve Robins swarming around the tree tops.  I didn't know they went around in flocks, did you?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Right Track - Vacation

And so our beloved president has gone off on a vacation for two weeks.  I always smile at the anger generated by the other side whenever a president takes off.  The press used to get very snarky whenever "W" went off to Crawford, and equally so when his father was seen sailing off the coast of Kennebunkport.  Clinton too used to get some flak when he went off to Martha's Vineyard.  In the case of the current leader I welcome a respite from his endless TV appearances.  There's no escape when he goes on - every news outlet broadcasts his latest lecture live.  Thank heavens for The Military Channel in such circumstances.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tirade - Driving.

We seem to have two types of drivers up here in the winter.  The ones who believe four wheel drive means they can go as fast as they like without any chance of swerving.  It doesn't work guys!  Then we have the other type.  The ones when they see a small patch of snow, freeze and drive at 15 miles an hour on our main boulevard.  Mostly these seem to be small Hispanic females who can barely see over the tops of their steering wheels.  After a snow fall Cal Trans actually do a great job of ploughing the roads.  Within 24 hours the roads are perfectly dry and safe.  However these ideal conditions are insufficient to let these frightened creatures reach the posted speed limit, often with snow chains banging around the wheel wells.  It drives the rest of us mad.  Come on People!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Music Track - Jay Z

I try very hard not to be a music snob.  I'm sure there is not good music or bad music as it's just a question of taste.  But the other day I noticed that the gentleman known as Jay Z - married to the equally famous Beyonce no less - walked away with some nine awards at a recent music ceremony.  Therefore in an attempt to research his music, I took a little stroll around You Tube for some of his stuff.  I have to say that it mostly seems to take a long time to get going and it's very repetitive.  But I chose this one for this week's track.  Now I only managed it for a total of one minute as perhaps there's something wrong with me but surely this is not "good" music.  Is it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnDh0JhmaFw

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmas Sleigh
You have to hand it to the Redneck community to come up with some original Christmas decorations.  We don't have anything nearly as novel as this around here, but maybe in 2014!  Have a wondeful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Recently my computer has been going very slow.  In fact it's driven me mad although I've tried to be patient with it.  Today it was so bad that I was stumped as to what to do.  I must have pushed a button too quickly as eventually it all stopped and then a little message appeared - I've had them before - asking me if I wanted to report the issue to Microsoft.  Normally I say no and try to carry on, but today I went a different route.  I said yes and eventually a message appeared thanking me and giving me the chance of having more information.  Here I was invited to let them check the machine, which over the course of about ten minutes it did.  Well, I don't know quite what they did, but it worked, and worked very well.  So if the same thing happens to you, let Microsoft have a shot at it!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Video - Amazing Magic

I was sent this the other day and it is one of the most amazing magic tricks I've ever seen.  Mostly I don't like them as they make me feel even more stupid than normal, but I can't see how on earth this is done. It takes about 6 minutes. http://www.flixxy.com/incredible-magic-trick-the-lottery-illusion.htm#.UnljO-UndTQ.gmail

Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Layout

With the first day of winter we change the layout once again.  I hope you like it as it has to last until the spring equinox on March 20, 2014.

Right Track - Welfare

This is a recording of a listener to an Austin, Texas radio show.  She explains why she doesn't see the need to work as everything is provided for her.  Perhaps with all the benefits of modern society we have reached the stage where you will soon have the choice of joining her and never working.  But how long before this part of society resents the rewards of the part that does work?  Just a question of time, I think.  Chilling stuff.  It takes about 7 minutes and thanks to Kevin for this.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tirade - Titles

Now I know a lot of these tirades make me out to be very old fashioned, but most of the old fashioned ways were developed over the years to actually make society move smoothly - like manners!  Now we come to title - not lords and ladies titles, but those for "the common man!"  Or woman, of course!  I have really become annoyed at the immediate reversion to a title for any criminal or low life who falls foul of the law.  The moment he was arrested OJ Simpson became Mr. Simpson.  Had that not have happened everyone would have insisted on calling him OJ or Juice which I believe was his nickname.  But the moment they slap the cuffs on you , it's Mr.!  I wish someone could explain to me how only using a courteous title for criminals helps society, when it seems perfectly OK for a child to approach a stranger and start calling him by his first name.  Come on People!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Music Track - Lufwaffe March

In the first half of WWII things were pretty bleak.  The Germans seemed to have the best equipment, uniforms and organisation.  Also they had the best music.  They had the Horst Wessel Song and Deuchland Uber Allies and we had "There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover."  This is typical of their type of music but just in case you think I've gone over to the dark side, this is written by an Englishman, Ron Goodwin, for the movie Battle of Britain.  But it makes me want to go out and oil up the tank! Ten - shun!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CNubveH3mE

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


My friend Rod sent me this the other day as we were discussing turkey.  I did actually try the beast - a duck breast inside a chicken breast inside a turkey. Frankly it wasn't that good and it was quite expensive!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

B & B's

In the small CA town of Los Alamos sits the Union Hotel.  Many years ago we spent a very interesting and enjoyable weekend staying there where they offered a bed and breakfast Saturday pm though lunch on Sunday.  We drove very close to it the other day and I made the detour and it was exactly the same as twenty years ago.  It's a big place going back a long way from the road, and has a number of "theme" rooms. We stayed in an ordinary one when we were there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Video - Cute Bears

My friend Norm sent me this video of some really cute Polar Bears.  And I thought we'd destroyed them all with global warming!  http://www.youtube.com/embed/CbILj_CYqno

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday's Column - Discovery Center

This week the journey is not so far; just the other side of the lake.  But here is a great place for people to find out what's happening in the local area fro hikes, cycle rides and snow fun.  It's also a fine resource to take children to who might not be too familiar with things in nature.  It's time for them to stop pressing buttons with their little fingers and play in the dirt and climb trees and look at animals.  You can read the entire column at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131214/big-bear-discovery-center-is-fun-and-adventure

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Right Track - Dinesh D'Sousa

I often envy people who can elucidate complex things simply.  Here is a six minute video of Dinesh D'Sousa explaining how he sees the effect of government interference.  It's worth listening to and I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for sending it to me.  http://safeshare.tv/w/VoDMsZIpqC

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tirade - Stupidity

I saw a piece in a British newspaper the other day - I look over a couple of them every so often.  What caught my eye was a quote by the Lord Mayor of London, one Boris Johnson.  He said "Economic equality will never be possible because some people are too stupid to get ahead."  With my American eye, I did think that this was a pretty harsh comment.  But have we become too squeamish to ever call a spade a spade.  And that is exactly what Mr. Johnson just did.  He also went on to say that in every survey 16% of people were below an IQ of 85, whereas only 2% are above an IQ of 130.  He did go on to say however that the gap between rich and poor had widened, and steps should be taken to help bright people from poor homes to rise up with some help from government.  I have no problem with that at all.  But is it wrong to speak out with the truth even if it is unpalatable?  Come on People! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Music Track - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, part two

I put swing on the blog some time ago and it proved rather popular.  Here is another track, but this time with the esteemed Bertie Wooster playing his role to the soundtrack.  What would Jeeves say! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk6oKTVa3J4

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Up North

People in California refer to the Bay area as "the north!"  The fact is though that it's very far from the north if you look at a map.  What do they call Eureka or Crescent City, if San Francisco is "north?"
I have a solution to the problem.  In England we refer to the north as being Manchester and beyond - it makes a lot of sense if you check it.  But then there is Birmingham and stuff around the middle like Leicester and Northampton.  We call this area the Midlands.  Now isn't that sensible?  I also rather like the idea of calling San Francisco the Midlands!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Night Driving

I had to drive home the other evening; it was about 50 miles and it was totally dark on an unlit road.  It occurred to me that I hadn't done this in quite some time.  Also that I wasn't completely happy with the circumstances.  I try very hard to resist the aging process, but is this perhaps one of the symptoms?  I virtually never ride the Harley at night - don't need to - and now it seems that I prefer not to drive either.  It's not anything I can put my finger on and it's only outside the local area.  But it is still a little feeling that time is rolling on!  Ah me!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Video - Above and Beyond

I'm grateful to my friend Don in Orange County for this very interesting 7:45 minute video.  It's about the volunteers for the Israeli Air Force in 1948. http://vimeo.com/54400569

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday's Column - UCR Photography Museum

This Sunday we visit the UCR Museum of Photography - a very interesting place.  The interior of the museum is designed to look like the interior of a camera - not the digital kind but the old fashioned type with it's spools and black painting.  The exhibition is constantly changing and if you are anywhere near the center of Riverside this a very worthwhile place to look around. You can read the entire column at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131206/get-the-picture-at-the-ucr-museum-of-photography-in-riverside

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Right Track - ObamaFlowers

I'm grateful to my friend Jim in Pasadena for this simple explanation of how government programs work.

Receptionist:  Hello, Welcome to ObamaFlowers, My name is Trina. How can I help you?
Customer:  Hello.  I received an email from Professional Flowers stating that my flower order has been canceled and I should go to your exchange to reorder it. I tried your website, but it seems like it is not working. So I am calling the 800 number.
Receptionist:  Yes!  I am sorry about the website. It should be fixed by the end of the year. But I can help you.
Customer:  Thanks, I ordered a "Spring Bouquet" for our anniversary, and wanted it  delivered to my wife.
Receptionist:  Interrupting, Sir, "Spring Bouquets" do not meet our  minimum standards, I will  be happy to provide you with Red Roses.
Customer:  But I have always ordered "Spring Bouquets", done it  for years, my wife likes them.
Receptionist:  Roses are better, sir, I am sure your wife will love them.
Customer: Well, how much are  they?
Receptionist: It depends sir, do you want our Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum package.
Customer: What's the difference?
Receptionist: 6, 12,18 or 24 Red Roses.
Customer: The Silver package may be okay, how much is it?
Receptionist: It depends sir, what is your monthly income?
Customer: What does that have to do with anything?
Receptionist: I need that to determine your government flower subsidy, then I can determine how much your out-of-pocket cost will be. But if your income is below our minimums for a subsidy, then I can refer you to our FlowerAid department.
Customer: FlowerAid?
Receptionist: Yes, Flowers are a right.  Everyone has a right to flowers. So, if you can't afford them, then the government will supply them free of charge.
Customer: Who said they were a right?
Receptionist: Congress passed it, the President signed it and the Supreme Court found it constitutional.
Customer: Whoa!  I don't remember seeing anything in the Constitution regarding flowers as a right.
Receptionist:  It is not really a “Right in  the Constitution,” but ObamaFlowers is Constitutional because the Supreme Court  Ruled it a "Tax". Taxes are Constitutional. But we feel it is a right.
Customer: I don't believe this.
Receptionist: It's the law of the land sir. Now, we anticipated most people would go for the Silver Package, so what is you monthly income sir?
Customer: Forget it, I think I will forgo the flowers this year.
Receptionist: In that case sir, I will still need your monthly income.
Customer: Why?
Receptionist: To determine what your 'non-participation' cost would be.
Customer: WHAT?  You can't charge me for NOT buying flowers!
Receptionist: It's the law of the land, sir, approved by the Supreme Court. It's $9.50 or 1% of your monthly income.
Customer interrupting: This is ridiculous, I'll pay the $9.50.
Receptionist: Sir, it is $9.50 or 1% of your monthly income, whichever is greater.
Customer: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What a rip-off!
Receptionist: Actually sir, it is a good deal. Next year it will be 2%.
Customer: Look, I'm going to call my Congressman to find out what's going on here. This is ridiculous. I'm not going  to pay it.
Receptionist: Sorry to hear that sir.  That's why I had the NSA track this call and obtain the make and model of the cell phone you are using.
Customer: Why does the NSA need to know what kind of CELL PHONE I AM USING?
Receptionist: So they get your GPS coordinates sir.
Door Bell rings followed immediately by a loud knock on the door
Receptionist: That would be the IRS sir.  Thanks for calling ObamaFlowers.  Have a nice day and God Bless America

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tirade - Appeasement!

So we are supposed to cheer the efforts of our Secretary of State and President in allowing some sanctions to be eased for the Iranians?  The same people who have carried out terrorist attacks for the last 25 years, and who have sponsored acts of war against the west.  In return they have "promised" to cut down on their weapons making.  But wait, we're allowed to inspect their sites - but not all of them!  If they behave we've agreed to ease off even more sanctions in six months.  Is any of this at all recognisable?  Perhaps 1938 Munich if you're having trouble following along.  For those with defective memories here is a 1:45 clip of that event.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj7b7ufh9tQ  About the only thing that could be said in favor of that disgraceful piece of history is that it bought England a year in order to begin arming.  Sadly, today's worthless piece of paper doesn't even do that.  Come on People!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Music Track - Blurred Lines

I rather gave up watching music videos about twenty years ago but occasionally I roam around You Tube to see what's going on.  I found this and at the time it had received 215,000,000 hits which is pretty amazing.  It's a bit repetitive but has some good points, I guess.  See what you think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A good fry up!

It's not often that we resort to the time honored British dinner tradition of a good fry up.  In fact since the dietitians have been at our various habits for years, there is always a feeling of guilt when consuming anything not comprised of sticks and green dirt.  But the other evening She Who Must Be Obeyed and I fancied something a little different from our usual health food and I let fly in the kitchen.  Above is what I put before her.  From the top - home cooked thinly sliced potatoes, mushroom, fried egg on a half a slice of fried bread, two strips of bacon, fried tomato, and two skinless sausages, all surrounding some baked beans.  Oh yes, a little cilantro for garnish.  And the result? I think S.W.M.B.O. liked it! Even the cilantro's gone!

And to think we used to eat something like this most mornings before going to school, and it didn't seem to hurt any of us did it?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Technology Leap

Every so often a new development in technology comes along that takes one's breath away.  If you haven't seen this it will amaze you.  It's Amazon's new delivery system planned for about five years down the road.  With more and more of their warehouses sited near their customers, this new system is possible for half an hour delivery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le46ERPMlWU

Monday, December 2, 2013

Video - Marching Bands

My grandson, Evan, was in his high school marching band and we went to a few of his concerts.  They were pretty impressive.  Here is an amazing display of the art however, sent to me by my friend Kevin.  It's the Ohio State University Marching Band. It takes 8:50 minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNe0ZUD19EE&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday's Column - Dave Gun Range

We've got a lot of guns in the USA!  Mostly they are tucked away to protect us as we can't expect the police to arrive any faster than a Dominos Pizza delivery guy - and they don't always carry!  No doubt the guns themselves are pretty efficient, but how good are the shooters?  Like most physical skills shooting has to be practiced.  In order to do that you probably need a little help with your technique, and this Sunday's column visits Dave's Gun Range in S/Bernadino which is the ideal place.  You can real all about it at http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20131129/learn-shooting-skills-safety-at-daves-gun-range-in-san-bernardino