Friday, December 31, 2010

Bucket List - Narrowboat

Since it is New Year's Eve, I thought I'd post the first of a few things on my 'bucket list' (things I want to do before I die). It's not at the top of the list. The items on my bucket list don't really have an order.


England and Wales have canals that were constructed in the 17th, 18th, and first half of the 19th centuries for the transport of commercial goods. Canals often connected navigable sections of different rivers or were constructed to bypass shallow or otherwise unnavigable sections of larger rivers. Prior to canals, the only available transport for goods was via wagons on poorly constructed and maintained roads.

With increased industrialization in the 18th century more factories required transport of both finished goods and raw materials. The great porcelain industry of England relied on the canals, as did the budding steel industry. Fertilizers, grains, wool, coal, livestock, and all manner of consumer goods were moved economically, if not swiftly, by barge.

You can rent narrowboats for a week or two and cruise the canals/aquaducts these days. (LINK

It's not a high speed adventure, but one that I think is worth doing.  You can run from village to village, stop and walk around. I think I'd also rent bicycles to put on the narrowboat to enhance exploration.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Visit

My granddaughter, Alyssa came by today for a visit.
 She brought her purse and her cell phone.

She tried very hard to sit still while Grandpa
took pictures of her with his new camera.

And having sit still for twenty seconds or so,
decided that it was time to get off of the couch.

And go play with a squishy ball.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Climate

h/t Dale

The planet we live on (Third Rock from the Sun) has been "warming" and "cooling" over geologically large periods. This is a cold winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It's a hot summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Does it mean that the planet has 'given up'?

Two sets of data on temperature change have been examined during the last decade. One used changes in tree rings; the other used thermometers. Both showed a rise in temperature until the 1960s, when the thermometers continud to record a rise and the tree rings did not. Scientists abandoned the tree rings data and the now-disclosed faked information indicating that we are on the verge of a global melt-down was spread conspiracy-fashion between some key researchers to forge their agenda.

I don't think that we should abandon conservation. Keeping pressure to use renewable resources and sustainable food supplies is responsible.

But I don't think that Al Gore saved the planet - not just because he's a nut, but because there is a financial agenda driving people like Gore and it has nothing to do with responsibility. Its only goal seems to be to enrich its proponents.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Finding peace on earth is not an easy task. Finding peace within each human heart is just as difficult. The human condition is defined by suffering of different varieties. However at this sacred time of year, we seek for those illusive qualities: harmony, understanding, cooperation, love, charity and kindness in a way that is humble and sincere.

In that spirit of the search for peace, in the spirit of Christmas, I wish those of you who read this blog (and everyone who doesn't) Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another Holiday Treat

They are festive, traditional and inedible, just like the real thing:

Inflatable Fruitcakes
Buy it here!

In the years to come, you'll wish you bought one now because they have a 50 year shelf life -- longer if you keep the cheap plastic out of the sun. 

Each vinyl fruitcake comes deflated with a 9-1/2" x 5-1/2" envelope and a decorative sticker, making it easy to send one to all of your friends and family! When inflated, this icon of old-fashioned baked goods is 8-1/2" x 5" x 4-1/2" and makes a great centerpiece for the holiday dinner table.

Why an inflatable Fruitcake?

-Nobody eats them anyway
-Reusable and re-giftable
-Cheaper to mail
-Non-toxic (unlike real fruitcakes)
-Always fresh
-No crumbs

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I failed to deliver...

I promised that I'd do more decorating outside in the yard for Christmas and I didn't do it this year. I have several scapegoats - work in Mexico, focus on writing my next novels (Bloody Mexico and The Black Scorpions) and so forth. BUT, it doesn't excuse me from my holiday promise.

Next year (it's in writing now), I intend (not promise) to create a full on Grinch extravaganza to the extent that I'm able including playing the "You're a Bad Man Mr. Grinch" song on a speaker to entertain those who pass. I'm not a grinch, but I don't like to go with the flow. The only thing in nature that goes with the flow is a dead fish. So after the Season has passed, I will begin to look for green lights to decorate my home in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A different take on ornaments

Every year I add a few different ornaments. Friends at Disneyland gave me the employee collectable ornaments for years. Here are a few from this year.
This year they have taken on a slightly more patriotic and nationalistic theme.
Protecting the nation since 1947
This is the spy guy and a grandfather clock decorated for the holiday season.

Monday, December 20, 2010

So Cal Lifestyle

There is a joke -- but it's true, so it's not really a joke -- that whenever it rains in Southern California, the place goes into panic mode. The weather is usually near perfect so any deviation from the norm is news and it sets people back into reality mode.

Some guys are being pulled by a car, 
wakeboarding in a flooded section of town.

The water here is about three feet deep.

I live on the side of a hill such that water drains off into places such as the one above (it has to stop somewhere).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I don't own a cat.

I have never owned a cat.

This may be the reason why...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More from NASA

A new NASA mission is in the planning phases:

NASA Scientists Plan To Approach Girl By 2018

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Joy

What do you buy a person in the US, with liberal leanings, for Christmas? May I offer two suggestions?

Buy it HERE (
The Bill Clinton cork screw is as timeless as Bill is. I suggested to a friend that he draw a picture of Bill Clinton holding an Obama hand puppet as a symbol of the new Executive Leadership in America. The Bill Clinton screw requires that you bring your own blue dress to the party. And if the champagne pops and you get some on you - please take the dress to the dry cleaners promptly.

The Hillary Clinton nutcracker is a must-have for Christmas gift exchanges with your favorite womyn liberal. It's one of those things that brings profound symbolism and helps you crack those tough nuts.

And for those whose gift exchange favors a more conservative bent, there is no finer gift than the gift of sanitation. Think of your favorite president with every wipe!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Season

When I was a little boy, we often spoke German at home. The Christmas Carols (and Georg Friedrich Händel's Messiah) are best to me when sung in German. Call it a cultural thing, harkening back to those days when the world was still full of wonder.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thoughts on Free Speech

Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred.

Political correctness is the enemy of freedom of speech. What began as a crusade for civility has ended in a situation where one is never quite sure of the politically correct buzzword of the moment. I've found in my brief life that politically correctness seems to hover most closely around pressure groups and political organizing. There are demands and counter-demands by the politically sensitive that have devolved into a situation where almost everyone (irrespective of what their orientation is in the politically correct world) is a racist, a bigot, experiences some degree of Islamophobia, is a sexist, uninformed (stupid) and so forth.

The US Military exists to kill people and break things when Congress or the President (sometimes both) decide that it's time to do that. It's not a tool for social engineering. Don't ask, don't tell (DADT) is poised to make sexual preference an entitlement and "protected class" of people, the same as race, religion, physical disability, etc. Arguments over politically correct language in this regard devolved and soured into arguments over what is “offensive” and, even worse, censorship. 

I discussed World War 2 with my daughters recently and mentioned America's enemy, the Empire of Japan. In discussing a tactical move made by that enemy, I called them, "the Japs". My daughters collectively sucked in their breath and informed me that calling Japanese people "Japs" reached a new low in political insensitivity. I never knew that. Nobody ever told me. I'm glad they never told my father, who was wounded in combat at Okinawa when a kamikazi aircraft, piloted by a "Japanese pilot" (my dad would have said, "a Jap") crashed into the USS Hazelwood and all but sank it.

At times I use insensitive language toward America's enemies - in that I don't take their feelings into account when I discuss them. If they were present, they'd likely try to kill me not because I called them names they didn't like - they'd try to kill me because of my nationality. And this is my point. Political correctness always seems to go in ONE direction and never in both directions. It doesn't create a situation that changes anything - and usually mocks tolerance.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Don't forget Festivus on Dec 23

With the Holiday Season already upon us, some of you may be forgetting Festivus.  When I send out "Season's Greetings" cards out, they include Festivus, though not explicitly stated in the pre-printed card. The cards are often manufactured by people who are not Festivus believers. The holiday, which is actually more valid than Kwanzaa because it's older, was created by Dan O'Keefe, and introduced to the world by his son, Dan jr., a screenwriter for the Seinfeld Television Show.

Festivus in Afghanistan

The celebration includes an unadorned aluminum pole, the Festivus pole (buy yours HERE). And yes, they are also available in Canada.

Festivus in America

You don't have to light one or more candles, you don't have to give gifts or song songs. Festivus is the time for airing of grievances and feats of strength. So if you're ticked off at a family member, please save it for Festivus. This is that special time where you can tell others in your family the ways in which they have disappointed you over the past year. After grievances are aired and counter-allegations are concluded, there is the Festivus meal - traditionally spaghetti and meat sauce. Once the filling spaghetti meal has concluded comes the time for a display of feats of strength. The head of household is wrestled to the floor and the holiday only ends when said head of household is pinned.

For a complete list of famous Festivus celebrations in popular culture, please scroll down the bottom here (LINK)

eat it!

Do you eat watermelon? Do you enjoy it's luscious velvety sweetness? Then try eating it like this.

Friday, December 3, 2010

living in the present means hope

For a friend who is having a rough day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who is the Leader of the Club?

Griffin visited with Mickey Mouse today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Choice of Military Service

This comes to us by way of John Coffey, Navy veteran.

But when you REALLY think about it, why wouldn't people choose the NAVY?

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