Wednesday, June 11, 2014

End of Blog

After four years and 1500 posts - I rarely missed a day - I've closed the blog.  I have a couple of writing projects that are going to need all my time.  I may take it up again one day, but in the meantime it's a job that's ended.  You can read my weekly columns at this site And if you want to contact me you can at  Thanks.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Right Track - Obamacare Costs

I'm grateful to my friend Bob over in Pennsylvania for this terrific explanation of Obamacare costs.  It's from retiring senator Tom Coburn, himself a doctor.
"Hmmm, Obamacare, that's the program that Obama says we have 8 million new enrollees in…people who would not have not been insured before, right?  8 million less the 25% who have not paid premiums so the insurance is not in force…that’s 6 million less the 5 million who we know for sure had insurance before but were displaced by Obamacare.  So we are down to $1 million people who the government spent $138 Billion, as far as I can obtain the spending facts, to put their plan in place through might I add private insurers. So we spent an average of $138,000 per person to insure them with much smaller care networks, much higher premiums and much higher out of pocket expenses than either Medicaid or other assistance programs.  This debacle is being touted as a success by this administration.  That is why I am leaving Washington."

Friday, May 30, 2014

Weird Portrait

Just over 20 years ago we were in Madrid, Spain.  We took a side trip to Toledo and enjoyed the city very much.  On the way back the tour guide had the bus stop and he filed us all into a darkened room.  Once he had all of us facing the same way he switched on a flood of lights and we saw this life-size portrait.  There were gasps, as it was of a bearded woman nursing a child.  This was painted in 1631 by the painter, Ribera, of Sra. Magdalena Ventura with her husband in the rear.  She bore him three sons before, at the age of 37, she sprouted this full size beard.  I've never forgotten the sight.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Music Track - Mozart

This became very popular in the late 60's when it was used as background to the movie Elvira Madigan.  I never saw the film and having looked at the plot on Wikipedia, I don't think I'll bother - very depressing!  But the music is pretty good; I think you'll agree.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I'm reading a book at the moment.  Nothing particularly unusual about that as I read a great deal.  But on this occasion, I'm actually reading a book rather than my Kindle.  I've been using a Kindle for about 4 1/2 years and when I first started on it, I found the experience a little strange.  I missed the feel of a book in my hands and the turning of the pages.  Now however as it's been about a year since I reverted to a  book, I'm finding the loss of my Kindle to be equally difficult.  I miss the ease of the device, and the lightness of it.  If I'm outside and the wind blows I don't have to fight the pages.  But the biggest downside of all is the lack of an instant dictionary.  Whereas on the Kindle, if I want to look up a word, it's immediate.  Now I have to go to a dictionary, which means I probably don't!  I'm anxious to get back to a more modern read!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


A few months ago I was fiddling about in the roof of the garage and an item fell down.  It hit the rear fender of the Harley and caused quite a chip in the paint.  I was very annoyed.
As there are about six layers of pain and all of the pearl white had gone, I lived with the annoyance.  Then I saw an advert for Dr. ColorChip, and decided to invest the $40 for their kit, which arrived promptly.

It took me about 20 minutes to do the job and frankly although there is still a slight indentation, the result is great.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Video - Dog's Pray

Many thanks to my friend Paul in England for this great video of four Chinese dogs at the lunch counter.  I wonder if the one nearest the camera is perhaps a Labradoodle or even a strangely clipped Poodle.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday's Column - Hesperia Fishing Lake

Canadian Goose afloat
It's always nice to see all the various ducks and geese at the Hesperia Fishing Lakes.  The day I went there, it was blowing quite a gale, but all the trees and banks sheltered the many people who had come out to enjoy the day.  It's really a true oasis in the high desert.  You can read the entire column at

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Right Track - Sequestration Part II

So the results of the sequestration are finally in.  I thought things had been rather quiet on that front since various members of the left wing had forecast terrible events if we dared to cut any government jobs or programs.  We heard estimates from 1.2 million jobs (Harry Reid) to 170 million (Maxine Waters!)  I don't think we have 170 million actually working here anyway.  Well, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has just published its report on the number of government positions lost and it managed to find one.  Yes, only one job was lost.  Amazing after all the doom and gloom of total collapse that just one poor fellow in the Dept. of Justice was let go.  Can we ever trust politicians with numbers?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Trevor's Tirade - VA Health Care

Is it me or has everyone gone crazy?  We are in the midst of another "scandal" and this time it's to do with the Veterans Affairs hospitals.  It seems that vets cannot get the healthcare that has been promised to them.  There is talk of secret lists and long long waits.  I saw a Major General (retired) talking about his difficulties.  He had to wait months to be seen by a specialist for his complaint.  He was able to take it to the very top of the Pentagon.  But as he said how many could do that.  No one has complained about the actual medical care once they get through the screen of paperwork and bureaucracy.  Over eleven states are reporting that things are very bad with the VA.  And yet the custodians of our society - the media - have totally failed to suggest that this gross inefficiency is the face of government run health care.  Come on People!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Music Track - Brahms

In the TV detective series Jesse Stone, the hero played by Tom Selick is advised that when things get tough he should listen to Brahms.  Now I took to Brahms quite late in life as I didn't like him early on.  This is one of his Intermezzos, played by Glenn Gould who himself was quite an interesting character.  It's about four minutes; see how you like it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


It is said that politics and religion are the two conversational topics that should never be discussed.  Well, I've blown the first taboo, but the second has remained quiet.  However this pretty much sums up my beliefs in that area.  Thanks to Paul in England for sending it to me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


It's that time again.  Always a wonderful moment to head out on the water.  We had the boat tuned up and the boatyard launched it for us.  The lake level is down quite a bit and I don't think the mechanics trusted me with their ramp.  But we headed out the other day for the first run of the season, and here is She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO) enjoying the scene,  It's still a little chilly, but it'll warm up pretty soon.   If you have an interest in how our lake is doing this is the site  You'll see that we're down eight feet from full after our dry season.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Video - Smart Bird

Many thanks to my friend Paul in England for this video.  I think the bird is smarter then me as I had to watch it twice to see what exactly was going on.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday's Column - Center Ice, Ontario

I have to say that ice rinks are not my favorite  venues for stories.  Let's face it they have a very large surface of gray ice, which is hardly photogenic and also apart from the Olympic gold medal contenders, the people there just go round and round. I had to visit Center Ice in Ontario twice to get a decent line on the article and looking at it now it came out all right.  See what you think.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Right Track - Government versus the individual

About every ten days I receive a short lecture from Prager University.  Dennis Prager is a conservative commentator who gives a great deal of thought to matters.  Here is a 4:00 minute lecture by one of his colleagues about how goverment has changed in the last 50 years.  I think you'll find it interesting.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tirade - Vonage

We've recently been subjected to a TV ad by Vonage, the phone company, for their service.  It's given by a man who has the usual enthusiasm for the product he's representing, and he's wandering around various locations seemingly welcomed by all and sundry to his shouted words -  often in other tongues.  My complaint is his dress.  He seems to have been dressed from a heap of clothes rejected by the Goodwill Industries and then having them stored in a heap to have them in a perfectly dreadful condition.  Have we sunk so low that this is now the way we want our representatives to appear to the world?  If he's just a "rep" for Vonage and reflects them, one wonders what a board meeting looks like.  A vagrants' convention?  Come on People!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Music Track - Trance

I was recently made aware of a genre of music called Trance.  It developed in Germany in the '90's and I can see its appeal to those who like their music dreamy and for a concert of it - long!  It sticks to rhythms that are between 125 and 165 beats per minute.  Here is a 4:30 minutes piece by Above and Beyond - a British group.  See how you like it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


We're a bit sensitive to earthquakes out here.  The least jolt and the TV screens are full of concerned newsreaders.  Not long after, for the last thirty years we've usually had the appearance of Dr. Kate Hutton the seismologist from Cal Tech.  Now I've nothing against the lady but after all this time, I'm sure I could do as good a job.  And that includes her stand in, Dr. Lucy Jones.  Frankly all they ever do is to say that there's been an earthquake of say. 5.1, which it was the other day, and then point out where it occurred.  All this is read off instruments.  There is only one piece of information that all of us want to know and that is when is the next one?  And that neither of these ladies is able to do.  So what's the point?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Big Bear Performing Arts Center - PAC

Big Bear's PAC
I mentioned that we went along to a concert the other day.  It was at the performing arts center (PAC) in Big Bear.  It really is a very good theater and we have enjoyed a number of performances over the years there.  It is a 400 seat auditorium and there's not a bad seat in the house.  It's too bad that we don't get the regular performers there that we used to, but I believe it costs too much to put on.  Such a shame as it's such a good facility.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video - Medicine

A fascinating look at advanced technology in the operating rooms of the future.  It takes about 6:30 minutes.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday's Column - Riverside Art Museum

This Sunday we visit the Riverside Art Museum.  It houses the largest collection of art in the Inland Empire, but the column looks closely at the actual designer of the building - Julia Morgan.  She was a pioneer of architecture at a time when women were not known to be at the front of the profession.  You can read the entire column at

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Right Track - Benghazi

After a recent surfacing of an email from the White House, the rascally Republicans are finally about to appoint a select committee to look into the events of Benghazi.  Naturally there are cries of foul from the left.  However, four Americans were murdered and no one has been held accountable.  I watched one liberal commentator go apoplectic the other day about the matter, saying it was just a witch hunt.  But here are a few thoughts.  Why has no one been held to account?  Why has it taken nearly two years for the White House to provide the documents requested?  Why has it taken congress two years and many many oversight hearings to get this far?  And if there is nothing to hide, why is the WH being so tough about it?  As was said over the Watergate break ins, it wasn't the crime that caused the presidency to fall, it was the cover up.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tirade - Sterling

I recently told a friend in England that racism is a subject that is best never to mention out here.  The traditions are so deep that it's almost impossible to state an opinion without getting into very hot water.  But I have a couple of questions regarding the recent revelation that the owners of the Clippers basketball team is a racist.  How come the NAACP awarded him a a lifetime distinction in 2009, and was about to repeat it again this  year?  As he was known to hold these views going back many years, how come they have surfaced now?  And is the UCLA medical center so replete with money that they can afford to turn away $3 million dollars from Sterling which he was donating to their causes?  Just asking!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Music Track - Runaway

We had a rather rare break-out the other day.  Frankie, one of our two miniature Poodles, somehow got out.  We're not entirely sure how he managed it as the door was only open for a moment and also a fence had come loose.  But there he was wandering around a neighbor's front yard quite happily.  He has a tendency to want to check out more smells than are available in our garden or on his daily walks.  I've taken to quietly singing what I call his theme song to him from time to time.  My rendition is not as good as the original heard here

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I forgot an event last December that was most significant if you were English.  It was the death of Ronald Biggs - one of the ringleaders of the Great Train Robbery.  A self confessed "villain" Biggs nonetheless led a colorful life.  The robbery was on August 8, 1963, when I was a very young man.  The robbers got away with some $75 million in today's money - a little was recovered, but not very much.  Biggs was captured but he escaped from Wandsworth Jail and after some plastic surgery he found his way to Adelaide in Australia.  But the equally well known Jack Slipper of the Yard was on his trail and Biggs had to take off once again; this time to Rio de Janeiro, from where there was no extradition treaty.  Here he lived in some notoriety, giving press interviews, but he yearned for England and an ability to walk into a pub and order a pint.  He subsequently returned voluntarily and was immediately arrested and imprisoned.  Bad health caused the authorities to allow him to leave on compassionate grounds in 2009, but he died last year at age 83.  An interesting life!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Riding Season

It's riding season again - for those who don't like the cold or who don't have the proper gear!  My friend Dennis in the desert sent me this information including the above picture.  Here all the motorcycles in the shot are in the truck driver's blind spot and can't be seen.  For those of us on two wheels the following applies.
When riding on highways, try not to "hang" around tractor trailers or any large trucks. Not only do they have a hard time seeing you, but there are other hazards associated with being near trucks, especially flatbeds and dump trucks which spew stones and pebbles behind them. Several times a year there are incidents of wheel separation from commercial vehicles resulting in the deaths of car drivers.
The stats below refer to Ontario, Canada, but there is no reason to believe it is any different anywhere in the World as these commercial carriers try to cut costs. Let's be safe out there.
TORONTO - Several Ontario police forces engaged a two-day traffic blitz in late June, pulling over 190 commercial vehicles deemed to be in need of a safety inspection. Overall, 40% of the total vehicles, which included flat-bed trucks, pickups, cube vans, straight transport trucks, and long-haul tractor-trailers, failed the inspection. And of those 76 vehicles that flunked the safety check, 36 were in bad enough shape to have their licence plates removed on the spot, deemed by police and Ministry of Transportation (MTO) officers to be a safety risk to other motorists on the road. A total of 199 provincial charges were laid. (Source: Toronto Sun)

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Video - The Colonising of America

    I'm very grateful to Kevin in the Marina for this terrific video on how the USA was colonised.  It takes ten minutes and is certainly worth the time.

    This “moving” map of the country, shows it from the beginning of the 13 states through the present.   It includes the acquisitions from England and Spain , the Slave states, the Free states, a segment on the Civil war.  It  includes some mentions of Central and South America , etc.
    It also shows the Indian Nations as they were during the Indian Wars: Modoc, Miwok, Mojave, Nez Perce, Flat Head, Crow, Cheyenne , Arapaho, Navajo, Apache, Dakota, Sioux, Kiowa, Wichita and Comanche.
    A great site, especially if you enjoy American history, but have forgotten a lot of what we learned in school.. Turn on your sound, as the narration is a significant portion of the presentation.

    Click on the blue line below. 

    click on Play on the right top panel.)

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    Sunday's Column - Palm Springs Tramway

    On your way up to the Palm Springs Tramway, you pass a couple of the old tram cars, left as a monument.  The new cars however are round, and also they rotate to give riders a 360 degree view as they travel up to the summit.  If you've never made the trip it's certainly worth it.  The tramway was the dream of one man, Francis Crocker and used to be called Crocker's Folly.  But today it's one of the highlights of a trip to the desert resort.  You can read more here

    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    Right Track - Peace Process?

    It's not often I feel sorry for the current administration but an occasion happened this week.  The Israeli/Palestinian peace talks broke down. One is tempted to add AGAIN!!!!  Since the formation of the state of Israel, we have been having continuous talks and no matter which flavor of politician is involved they always fail.  I have a suggestion to make.  Since we're no further  forward after 70 years perhaps we should just stop expending energies and hopes and leave the two sides to it.  Frankly I blame the Israelis.  What is the point of sitting down to talk with an opponent who refuses to accept that you have the right to exist.  We would not sit down to talk with Al Qaeda.  They want us dead.  The Palestinians will never be happy until they control Israel and Israel is not going to let them do it.  What is the point of talking?  There is no common ground.  For a 5 minute video on the entire problem you may find this of interest.

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Tirade - Schools

    I sometimes wonder what our schools are doing.  Particularly to the characters of our children.  The moment any type of difficulty occurs at a school, "counsellors" are immediately on hand to cope with any problems.  How are children to learn that life is not easy and they have to learn to deal with problems?  One particularly egregious event happened the other day.  A young man at high school, one Patrick Farves, mentioned that on the occasion of a visit by the current Miss America, he would like to ask her to the high school prom.  He was told that he must not do that under any circumstances.  He did it anyway and was immediately suspended.  Why?  What possible harm could it have done?  But the mealy mouthed authorities didn't like the idea, although he broke no rule.  Had he been my son, I would have been quite proud of him as at that age I certainly wouldn't have had the courage to have done it.  Come on People!

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Music Track - Cinderella

    Among the first pieces of music that I was attracted to were Rossini overtures.  They're short, tuneful and also they build up in tension - ideal for the young person.  Here is Cinderella - about eight minutes.  I believe Rossini always left his overtures to his many operas until last and often had to rush them; nonetheless they are all jewels.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014


    In general establishments in the USA are pretty good.  Service is done well and products are usually first rate. It is a rare thing to find something bad or even poor.  The above is a place called the Iron Hog.  I've been to it about three times and on each occasion I've been disappointed.  The other day out on a ride, and hearing of "pulled pork sandwiches" the five of us pulled in here - noting the new garish paintwork which we hoped was a good omen.  It was not to be.  As on previous occasions, there was no food on the menu, plus the atmosphere was tarnished by extremely loud music coming from small, tinny speakers.  It also looked as if some contractors had been dumping trash around the place.  Sadly this place is now off limits!

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014


    Mother Nature works off a different calendar to mankind.  We might have changed our clocks and also noted the arrival of the equinox, but a few days later we had a storm come through.  The wind on the upper elevations was so strong that even the last remaining ski slope closed for the day.  If you live in the mountains you have to be prepared for such things.  Also it's a good excuse to get the fire started up.  The last one of the season?  Mother Nature isn't saying!

    Monday, April 28, 2014

    Video - Doggy Dinner

    This has been around before, but it's still very, very funny.  I'm grateful to my friend Paul in England for sending it to me.

    Sunday, April 27, 2014

    Sunday's Column - Yanks

    This week we visit Yanks Air Museum.  It's almost next door to the Chino Planes of Fame Museum but this one specialises in more modern aircraft.
    One exhibit that always draws me is a German Doodlebug - a VI flying bomb from WWII.  I have been underneath these as they flew over at the tail end of the war and believe me it's not fun.  You can read the entire piece at

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

    Right Track - Racism

    Recently we have had a number of shouts of "racism" again from left wing politicians, who always seem to be ready to unleash them.  The AG, Holder complained that no Attorney General before him had ever been treated the way he was by congress.  Has he forgotten Alberto Gonzales or even Ed Meese?  But then on the other hand, Condalessa Rice the former Secretary of State has had to face criticism from the left for taking a position on a software board.  Perhaps she should call her critics "racists!"  Of course she never would.

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    Tirade - Comments

    I recently posted a forwarded email from a friend purportedly listing some of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.  Basically it was a list of stages that would lead to a totalitarian state, and not one under which I would like to live.  I seems that this list was not correct and only took on the appearance of Alinsky's tactics, which were much broader that that.  Nonetheless whenever I get a little close to the reality of our current President's true colors my comments section fills up with howls from the left, who don't like their hero to be besmirched - even by association with someone with whom he most certainly would agree.  In one case, one commentator alluded to Snopes as refuting the list.  Sadly Snopes is not to be relied upon as a reliable source when it comes to left and right matters.  However I do apologise for the error and hope that the battle will continue.  Do please try and get the spelling right when you make comments though.  It's not good form to let that slide. Come on People!

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Phone Boxes

    Telephone Graveyard
    Just along the road from us a neighbor has an old British phone box.  He bought it for some strange reason.  It's odd to think how common they were during my lifetime.  I'm sure today's young people would not even recognise them at all.  They were always painted red, apart from the city of Hull who had their own phone system, and remained independent of the General Post Office.  Hull's were painted green, like the ones in Ireland.  The one near us has large panels of glass rather then the narrow ones shown here in this graveyard.  Thanks to my friend Keith in the Marina for this sorry sight from my youth.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014


    A tragedy recently occurred on Mount Everest.  An avalanche swept down and killed at least 13 people - mostly Sherpa guides.  As of April 18 others were still unaccounted for.  This place has held a fascination for me for most of my life.  It was considered unclimbable until John Hunt's expedition in 1953.  Then New Zealander Edmund Hilary made it to the top with Sherpa Tensing; just in time for the Queen's Coronation.  We were given an afternoon off school in celebration.  With different circumstances in my life perhaps I would have liked to have tackled this beast, but it has not been in the hand dealt to me.  Great regrets for the victims!

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    Video - Men's brains versus women's brains

    I was sent this by my friend Chana.  I think there's a lot of truth in what he says.  I have to say though that my "nothing box" is not as empty as it once was.  It takes about 15 minutes.

    Sunday, April 20, 2014

    Sunday's Column - Riverside Met Museum

    There have been quite a few changes since I last visited Riverside's Metropolitan Museum.  There is a new curator and no doubt she has been influential in these changes.  It used to be the Post Office in the downtown area and along with the other buildings in the center is a fine example of its type.  You can read the entire column at

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Right Track - Obamacare

    Recently we have had the spectacle of our President "spiking the ball" in the Rose Garden of the White House.  He was putting on a show at having reached a goal of 7.1 million people signing up for his mandatory health care plan.  Unfortunately with so many changes - over 30 - made since the bill was passed, most people don't understand or believe the statistics.  And let's not forget that this is a country of over 300 million, so 7.1 doesn't seem too impressive.  To help with the confusion, I'm grateful to my friend Dave in the desert for sending me this to help us all understand our drive towards socialized medicine.
    In order to insure the uninsured, we first have to un-insure the insured.
    Next we require the newly un-insured to be re-insured.
    To re-insure the newly un-insured, they are required to pay extra charges to
    be re-insured.
    The extra charges are required so that the original insured, who became
    un-insured, and then became re-insured, can pay enough extra so that the
    original un-insured can be insured for free.

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    Tirade - Marketing

    Recently we tried to order a product advertised on TV.  It was not expensive and as usual they would double the offer (just pay separate shipping and handling!)  Well, to begin with the Web site would not let us complete the transaction, so we tried the phone.  Immediately a recorded message told us that we had been "selected' for a free two day cruise that would only cost us a $59 dockside charge.  Unfortunately it was on the other side of the country to the Bahamas.  We tried to exit out of this offer but only succeeded in being put through to more recordings, this time offering us the services of a TV cable company.  Not at any time did we ever hear of the original product in which we were interested.  I did have a little fun with the salesman who wanted me to go on his "free" cruise with suggestions as to how this might include "free" travel to the boat, but other than that it was a frustrating business.  Eventually, I checked the product's reviews on line and I was not surprised to find out that not only was it substandard but the extra shipping and handling amounted to rather a lot.  As one reviewer wrote, it's best to wait until it appears on the "As seen on TV" shelves at K-mart or Walmart.  Come on People!

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Music Track - Il Silenzio

    I'm very grateful to my friend Paul, currently wading around in Southern England for this one, including the history, which I didn't know.

    About six miles from Maastricht, in the Netherlands lie buried 8,301 American soldiers who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall and winter of 1944-5.  Everyone of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries has been adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is even the custom to keep a portrait of "their" American soldier in a place of honor in their home.  Annually on "Liberation Day" Memorial Services are held for "the men who died to liberate Holland." The day concludes with a concert.  The final piece is always  "IL SILENZIO", a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland's liberation. It has been the concluding piece of the memorial concert ever since.

    This year the soloist was a 13 year old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and his orchestra (the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands). This beautiful concert piece is based upon the original version of taps and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi.

    Watch at this site and go full screen. Beautiful & moving.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014


    It seems that a battle is raging over in the UK.  Some time back an emergency vehicle went to the wrong address because they didn't realize that the name had an apostrophe in it and went to the one that didn't.  In the spirit of the age, the local authorities subsequently banned the punctuation mark from its future street signs.  However there are people who care deeply about such things and a rear guard action was mounted in the dead of night with black marker pens.  I'm grateful to my friend Van for sending me the information.  The article also said that apostrophes have been absent from US signs for a long time, which I didn't know.  You can read the entire article here

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Funeral Words

    I get quite a few jokes and other stuff that comes over the net.  Normally apart from interesting videos that I usually post of Mondays I leave them alone for the blog.  This one however did make me smile - it's from Stan in England.

    While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt.
    Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased.
    The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said:  'Glory be unto the Father, and unto the Son, and into the hole he goes.'

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Video - Why Capitalism Works

    One of my favorite talk radio hosts is Denis Prager.  I call him the thinking man's Rush Limbaugh; not that I have anything against Limbaugh of course.  He began an on-line FREE university and sends out a regular three or four minute lecture on subjects he feels important.  Here is one of them, and if you like it you can easily subscribe.  We often hear criticisms of capitalism and it's evil twin profit.  Here one economist helps to set the record straight.

    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Sunday's Column - Planes of Fame

    Boeing "Pea-shooter" from the 1930's
    This week we visit the Planes of Fame museum in Chino.  I've been coming here now for ten years and there is no doubt that the place has spruced up a great deal.  Most of the exhibits are a lot shinier than when they left the factories so many years ago.  You can read the entire column at

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Right Track - Media Bias

    It's generally accepted that the media is biased towards liberal causes.  All but the most partisan accept this.  They are pro-Obama and pro-big government and ant-gun almost to a man (and woman.)  The other day I received an email that confirmed my suspicions however.  At the end of Good Morning America's Sunday political talk show there used to be an "In Memoriam" section.  This was where the host would assume an instant grieving voice and tell the audience of the number of military killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I noticed that this section had somehow disappeared from the program and wondered why.  The email explained it.  Since Obama increased the number of troops in Afghanistan, and also changed the rules of engagement so that soldiers have to be very careful of opening fire, the number of dead has increased dramatically.  In fact in the two years since our withdrawal has been announced deaths have gone up to about 1000.  Twice as much as during the Bush years.  Could this silence be a coincidence??????  In a turnabout, it has been reported that no US servicemen were killed in the month of March, which is wonderful news.

    Friday, April 11, 2014

    Tirade - Baseball (or not!)

    It's time for Dodger baseball!  Well, it is if you're a subscriber to Time Warner Cable TV.  For the rest of us, we can't hear the dulcet sounds of Vin Scully calling the game.  In fact the embargo has been so total that we couldn't even see the games they played in Australia.  All this because the Dodgers signed with TW and left the rest of the TV cable firms out in the cold.  It's going to be a tough season not being able to follow the team.  It's not as if we can change to TW as they don't operate in this area.  To show you how bad it is, even Vin himself can't watch away games which at 86, he no longer calls.  He can't get TW either.  Come on People!

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Music Track - Elton/Love Lies Bleeding

    I'm sure when they finally write up the all time classics - they probably have by now anyway - this is going to appear somewhere near the top.  It comes from the 70's LP Yellow Brick Road, and I've always thought it is a wonderful piece of music.  It's quite long - about 10 minutes - but well worth the time.  Often it's a disappointment to see live performances after knowing a piece of music well from a record, but this is just as good, if not better.  For interest, I believe the original double LP was completed on the isle of Majorca in only two weeks flat.  The juices must have really been flowing. Enjoy -

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014


    There used to be a bar in downtown Denver.  It had a section of the wall where you could leave money to buy a drink for someone when they came in.  I was amazed at the number of five, ten and twenty dollar bills waiting  for Elvis Presley.  He better be thirsty when he finally gets there.
    It seems there is no end to those who have "departed" still being around.  I left an art museum the other day and happened to notice a number of "tiles" that people had donated to the museum.  But what is this?  It seems that Jackson Pollock, the great avant guardest of the 1950's, had paid a visit and left a donation.  And this was back in 2000+.  Amazing!

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Snow Valley

    The first snow resort that people see when they come up the mountain is Snow Valley.  It's the ideal place for people who don't want to drive any more - Big Bear is about another 20 miles further on.  It's also the first place to feel the effects of the end of the season.  It's mostly not a lack of snow but enthusiasm that causes the slopes to close.  Snow Valley also suffers from the lack of a natural water supply and so making snow is more difficult for them.  Although I'm not a skier, there is something sad at the sight of these slopes gradually losing their coverage together with the empty parking lots.  Ah well, next year is around the corner.

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    Video - Vehicle recovery, and then some!

    I'm grateful to my friend Paul in England for this very short (24 seconds) video of a vehicle recovery that didn't end up the way it was supposed to be - Ouch!

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Right Track - Alinsky

    I'm grateful to Jim in Pasadena for sending me this theory in a format I can use.  It's a little chilling.
    Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing. He is often noted for his book "Rules for Radicals". 

    How To Create a Social State
    by Saul Alinsky
    There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a social state. The first is the most important.
    1) Healthcare – Control healthcare and you control the people.
    2) Poverty – Increase the poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
    3) Debt – Increase the debt to an
    unsustainable level. That way, you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
    4) Gun Control – Remove the ability to defend themselves from the government. That way, you are able to create a police state.
    5) Welfare – Take control of every aspect of their lives (food, housing, and income).
    6) Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.
    7) Religion – Remove the belief in God from the government and schools.
    8) Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent, and it will be easier to take (tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.
    Sound familiar?

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Tirade - Hypocrisy

    I'm sure everyone gets cross with the amazing amount of hypocrisy coming out of Hollywood.  We're always being lectured by actors and actresses on how we should behave, while their own behavior is far from perfect.  But the case of actor Angus T. Jones is a particularly egregious one.  He is the child actor who played the 1/2 in the Two and a Half Men TV series that was so popular.  He is no longer a child and has found his savior.  I'm sure that's a wonderful thing, except that now he looks like a ferret peeping though a ball of wool with his new facial hair.  He also spends a lot of time saying how bad (sinful) the series was and how he's turned his back on it.  I only have one question, Angus.  Did you send the money back?  He was reputed to have been paid $300,000 per episode, which is not bad work.  Come on People!

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Music Track - Shoenberg

    Arnold Shoenberg is the father of atonal music.  Now this might not seem the type of stuff you like, but you hear a great deal of it.  It accompanies a lot of what we see in films and TV performances.  It's not easy stuff to listen to on its own, but here is a short piece from Shoenberg's Serenade.  See how you like this four  minute piece.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014


    I'm not much given to coveting!  I'm glad of that as it must be miserable to have a great yearning for something and not to be able to acquire it.  But the other day I did get that sort of gnawing of the gums.  I had cast my eyes on perhaps the most beautiful car I had ever seen.  A 1936 Duesenberg.

    I shall be writing about the Nethercutt Museum where it was on display soon, but it's worth a double mention.  The curator told me that they had been contacted recently by a man with terminal cancer.  His dying wish was to ride in a Duesenberg and the owners said the curator could take him out for a spin.  They went about twenty miles.  I wouldn't necessarily want to do it under those circumstances, but I would like to drive it - or dare one say it, own it!  It cost $13,500 when new.  Any guess as to its value today.  The museum isn't saying!

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014


    I'm rather fond of animals.  Well, most of them.  I've also met people who have unusual pets.  There used to be a man walking around Big Bear with a long, yellow python draped around him.  I dread to think what would have happened if the snake became angry for some reason.  I've had gerbils, budgerigars, guinea pigs and a tortoise in my family.  But my friend Pat has a tame cockerel - he keeps it in his office.  Rufus is a splendid chap.  He's also quite friendly provided you are positive and "don't let him smell your fear!"  I stroke his back feathers when I see him; Pat is extremely fond of him.  In fact Rufus follows him around and seems to think he's a dog.

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    Video - Flash Mob  I've never seen a flash mob in action in real life.  This one is on a tram in Budapest and I like the outside decoration too.  Thanks to Paul in England for this one.  It takes about 4 minutes.

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    Sunday's Column - Private Train

    I don't think I've ever been in an engine driver's compartment.  So this was a first for me.  It is a Canadian Pacific engine attached to the private train which belonged to Clara Baldwin Stocker.  She was the daughter of "Lucky" Baldwin of early Los Angeles fame, who left his two daughters $10 million dollars each when he died.  Clara bought this train with the money and you can read all about her at

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    Right Track - Freedom

    I heard a commentator say the other day that you don't have a really free society if you're not allowed to own a gun.  To follow up the thought perhaps it's best to remember the history of the American Indian.

    Friday, March 28, 2014

    Trevor's Tirade - Irish?

    Let's get some basic facts on the table.  I was born English but chose to become American.  
    I've been to Ireland many times - both north and south.  I've also been to Scotland and Wales.  But those two countries have never tried on any occasion to encourage me to become one of them.  Nor am I expected to wear a thistle on St. Andrews Day. (November 30th), a leak or daffodil on St David's Day (March 1st) or do I ever put on a rose for St George's Day (April 23rd.)  So why on earth am I expected to put on green or wear that very common weed the shamrock on March 17 - St Patrick's Day?  I'm not Irish and I'm certainly not going to drink green beer, any more than any self-respecting Irishman would.  So March 17th passed as any other day and I avoided the celebrations by the 90+% of those Americans who have never set foot on the Emerald Isle!  Maybe I'll just wait for Cinco de Mayo!  Come on People!

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Music Track - Lili Marlene

    I recently played what seemed like German martial music from WWII, which in fact was written by an Englishman in the 1950's.  This however is the real deal - Lili Marlene - which became an instant hit with German Soldiers during the war.  Then for some strange reason it crossed over and was loved by Allied troops as well.  Here it's sung by the original and only Marlene Dietrich.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014


    We went along to a concert given by the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra the other day.  I was a little sceptical as I don't particularly like music butchered by youngsters no matter how keen they are.  However, I was most impressed as they were terrific.  Only a couple of split notes by a trumpeter and a few accidental glissandi by some string players.  Other than that they were very good indeed.  Also they were only aged from ten to fourteen.  Here is the link to the organisation