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.