Archive for the ‘Observations on life’ Category

Do you have a flag?…

March 27, 2018

The title of this post is actually a line from an Eddy Izzard sketch. However the point of this little bit of drivel is just to highlight the similarities and differences of a few flags. So lets start shall we….

Chile and Texas

OK, so Chile is a country (in South America) and Texas is a state in the USA but it’s remarkable how similar their flags are. They would certainly confuse me….





The USA and Malaysia

Interestingly I saw an article recently where someone believed that Islamic State had usurped the flag of the USA.





And Finally the United Kingdom and the flag of the Confederacy.

This one beggars belief but as brits in the US, we have flown the Union flag (of the UK) on our house in the past and been told that people thought it was the flag of the Confederacy. Being proud (or something) of your southern ‘heritage’ is one thing  (even if I don’t agree with it. Hey, each to their own)  but not even recognizing the flag that represents your view is pretty sad.



Confederate Flag


Not even bloody close!




Nothing will happen…

February 20, 2018

Without wishing to diminish or minimize in any way the horror of the recent school shooting, here’s what will happen in the next few weeks:

  • There will be an outpouring of support for the victims.
  • There will be a wringing of hands and a wailing of grief.
  • There will be a candle light vigil for the victims, maybe even more than one.
  • Questions will be asked about why warnings about the shooter went unheeded.
  • Questions will be asked about how we has able to legally buy the rifle used in the shooting.
  • There will be calls for gun control.
  • Politicians will waffle on without making any commitment to anything resembling action until the next crisis, whatever it may be, looms.
  • Moms against Guns or some other similar organization will claim their two minutes of fame with yet more pointless dialog about whatever.
  • There will be much talk about arming everyone on the planet because obviously, more guns will make us safer (or at least able to fire back, so goes the logic). It also makes you a target but let’s not go there.
  • El Presidente will change course several times, often issuing conflicting statements in the same breath before complaining that it’s not about him and that it’s all fake news.
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Whitehouse mouthpiece) will dig an even bigger hole for herself and then (we can only hope) jump into it!
  • The NRA will remain remarkably quiet.
  • Oh, and let’s not forget the 2nd amendment, I’m sure there will be calls to repeal that etc.

And then….

Bupkis, nada, ziltch, zero, nothing.
It will gently waft into forgotten history (except for the families of the victims) until the next time when I am sure the news channels will resurrect it and use it to talk endlessly on about how nothing has changed.

I will admit that I will be the first to be surprised (and a little bit more than happy) if something real actually does happen but I’m not holding my breath

One Day In…

January 21, 2017

And there is now conclusive proof that the American political system has elected an idiot to be our President!

It’s a beautiful planet…

September 15, 2016


July 7, 2016

Take the guns off the cops until they’ve had far more training than they apparently get now!

Spring Is Sprung…

March 12, 2016

No sooner did I mention how spring is about to burst forth, than it did…


Protectionism at it’s best….

February 7, 2015

Hershey, the US chocolate maker, makes Cadbury’s chocolate under license from the UK. They have recently won a court case that prevent the import of the British made version of that Chocolate into the US because they say, it hurts their sales. As a Brit I can say that the reason it hurts their sales is because their version of the chocolate tastes like crap and I wouldn’t feed it to pigs. In fact, it it is so far from tasting like ‘real’ Cadbury’s chocolate that I am surprised Cadbury’s even let them call it that.

So much for the open and free market economy in the biggest ‘open and free’ market economy in the world. As for Hershey’s chocolate, I won’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole.

I’m not one for hash tags but how about #KeepCadburysReal


Take two aspirin and see me next week…

September 5, 2014

When it comes to ISIS (or IS or whatever they want to call themselves this week), it is my opinion that you don’t cure cancer by taking two aspirin and having a lie down.

This is the sort of ‘law’ they are imposing on those unlucky enough to be in their way:


And if you want to see the true brutality of it all, watch the video on this site but be warned, it is graphic …


The Death of….

May 29, 2014

Well, pretty much any sort of delivery driver’s job.

Google have begun building prototype vehicles for their  driver-less car project and while the final product is probably some good way off, the writing is on the wall for delivery drivers.


Delivery drives includes the UPS/Fedex guy, taxi drivers and even truck drivers although that might take a little while longer, given the size and difficulty of driving and reversing an articulated truck. Combine the delivery guy job with an Amazon (or someone else’s) drone for the actual drop off at your home, or even an ambulatory (walking) robot for that part and essentially you are looking at the beginning of the end for that type of job.

It does beg the question though as to what all those people that are now out of work, plus the people in the infrastructure jobs that support them  like rest stops, gas stations will do for a living and that of course begs the question “what is the point of all this progress?” since without jobs to earn money, who will buy the goods that all these companies create using these highly efficient automated systems. Ultimately industry is cutting it’s own throat.

Still, that’s a discussion for another day.


And Ed gets a kick in teeth…!

April 14, 2014

I see that the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers are sharing the Pulitzer prize for  Public Service Journalism.

Meanwhile, our mate Edward Snowden, the source of all the information is still languishing in Russia with little chance of ever being able to return to his homeland and stay a free man.

Since there is no story without Mr Snowden’s efforts, I expect that the Washington Post and the Guardian will soon be forwarding any prize money to Ed as thanks for his contribution to exposing this abuse of power. Of course, I expect that pigs will be running their own airline soon as well.


On Hobby Lobby…

March 31, 2014

As always, these are my thoughts on the topic and I don’t really care if you agree or not!

Normally I ignore this stuff, what I believe is my belief, what you believe is yours and that’s fine but I got to thinking about this lately and I think that what this comes down to in it’s most basic form is this – “Does the exchange of service (your work) for payment (your pay) on a contractual basis (your job) entitle anyone in that organization to dictate to you what your thoughts or beliefs should be?”. Because if it does, the concept of freedom on any sort, the thing this country was founded on just went out of the window and down the drain. People work together within a business for a common goal, that goal (outside of ones pay) being whatever it is the business provides. The religious beliefs of it’s employees should not be of any concern to that business unless an employee does or says something based on their beliefs that might hurt the business in some way.



A matter of priorities…

February 3, 2014

I was watching TV last night (no, NOT the Super Bowl) and saw two adverts as follows.


  1. ASPCA add. For only $18 a month I could help save a poor abandoned animal, accompanied by lots of pictures of sad, big eyed dogs and cats.
  2. UNICEF. For only $15 a day a I could help feed a hungry child, accompanied by lots of pictures of sad, big eyed children.


Now, it’s not for me to say that a lot of animals don’t need rescuing from owners that should not be left in charge of a rock, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could be so cruel to an animal that did nothing to deserve it (leaving out the whole issue of how we treat the animal we eat!) but don’t you think there’s something wrong with the fact that apparently it costs more to save abandoned pets than it does to save the human race.

This is a real Snowday…

January 28, 2014

This is a picture of an actual ‘snowday’ here in Raleigh, North Carolina…


The schools really are closed today! Snow is due sometime later today around noon or later (it’s 8:30 am right now), so they have closed all the schools ‘to be safe’ and of course, there’s a run on groceries at the local supermarkets because we may be snowed in for a ‘day or two’ given that they are expecting three to six inches of the white stuff.


December 21, 2013

Unless you’ve been living under rock you’ll know that there’s been quite an uproar over remarks about Gays, Jesus and life in the south, made by Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty  show that airs on A&E over here in the good ol’ US of A!

So as always, here’s my $0.02 worth and you can take it or leave it, it’s just my opinion, yours may well be different.

I don’t agree with the guy but  I understand why he has the opinions and beliefs that he has. I did not always agree with my own father, a product of World War II in Europe, but I understood why he had the opinions that he did have and I respected him for that.

By his own admission, Robertson grew up in a time when those views were the prevailing views of society. Many people change as society changes but many don’t, can’t or simply won’t change along with it. Any way you look at it, they remain rooted in the past. If you are Joe Nobody and spouting to you mates over a couple of beers then no one really cares but when you have a public face, be it a TV show or even something as humble as a blog, yes, even this one, then sometimes you have to be a little bit more aware of your surroundings than you would otherwise be. You’d think a hunter would know that, but apparently not!

In a fair world we could all say what we like with no fear of reprisal but the reality is that everything we put out there for public consumption is subject to opinion, either by the public at large or anyone we can be associated with. It’s no different to the similar uproar a while ago over comments made by Dan Cathy, CEO of Chik-fil-A  on similar topics. I don’t agree with those or him but he’s welcome to his views, I just don’t eat at his establishments, that my choice and the cost (not much I admit) he pays for making his opinions public. I have no problem with him having his views, just don’t expect me to agree.

Off hand I think that if A&E were to disassociate themselves from everyone on their shows that has an opinion that is  contrary to current social norms, they’d very quickly find themselves with no shows at all. Overall  I think that Robertson got the sharp end of a not unexpectedly pointed stick from A&E for airing his point of view which is pretty strange really considering that it’s supposed to be a REALITY show. You don’t get more REAL than this which makes me at least want to question just what version of REALITY it is that A&E is trying to show.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Minority Report…

November 24, 2013

According to this story and based on the officer’s comment of “We apparently caught him between runs” it is now a felony in Ohio to think about committing a felony.


It’s a short, slippery road from there to a police state. Just sayin’

Thanks papa…

November 3, 2013

Papa John’s delivery driver ignoring disabled parking spot at local mall.


OK, so he was only there a few minutes but that’s not the point is it. He’s basically saying “I don’t give a **** about anyone less fortunate than me”. Far too often this is life in America today.

Use reverse logic…

October 31, 2013

There was an item this morning on the TV about the problem of football (the American Variety) players suffering concussions and one comment was that no amount of helmet technology could reduce the danger.

So, using reverse logic, the solution seems simple to me, remove all that bloody padding and the helmets. Trust me, if it’s going to hurt you (the attacker) as much as it’s going to hurt the guy you are tackling then you are going to back off and use less force. Less force equals less danger of concussion. OK, so you might loose a couple of teeth (like Rugby players) but I think on balance losing a couple of teath is preferable to dementia any day.

The same argument applies to boxing, another sport where the participants suffer brain injuries. In fact the whole point of boxing is to inflict a brain injury (resulting in unconsciousness aka a knockout) on your opponent. Bare knuckle fighting might appear to be more barbaric but take away the gloves and people hit each other with a lot less force because it bloody well hurts to hit something with your bare knuckles. Try it, hit a wall, it ruddy hurts!

So that’s my solution to all these sports injuries, remove all the padding and protection that really only protects the attacker in the confrontation and let them suffer as much pain as the target. Superficial injuries might go up but I bet you brain trauma goes down. Isn’t that worth a busted knuckle or two.

In Japan…

August 22, 2013

The Tokyo to Nagoya Maglev train is undergoing trials. It will travel the 218 mile distance in FORTY minutes at speeds of over 300 MPH.

Meanwhile, here in the US of A, the local government has spent 10 years trying to decide which way to route a 5 mile stretch of new freeway because going one way will require the demolition of some housing in a town while the other way will require it to go over or through or under (who knows really?) some wetlands that have a protected plant or frog or newt or something in them. There is a third route but we don’t mention that for some reason although it seems that is the one the DOT likes!

As for high speed rail! It takes 4 hours to drive to Washington DC from where I live. It takes SEVEN hours if you go by train. The new ‘high speed’ service will reduce that to SIX. Ha ha ha!! (and that’s assuming they can ever actually get the thing implemented).

I could say something about why America is in such a mess right now but I think the above pretty much sums it up (I still like living here though!)



You find…

August 14, 2013

All sorts of new friends (with trash) when you have a dumpster in your front yard!

On Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden…

August 3, 2013

It’s not for me to judge so I guess that only time will tell if Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are traitors or heroes but you have to wonder why these two young men would risk their freedom and future to do what they did.

I think Manning’s case in particular is far more complex than it first appears. He wears the country’s uniform and thus his allegiance and responsibility to the nation perhaps carries far more weight than that of an ‘ordinary’ citizen and as such he is expected to follow orders without question. After all, an army whose members all do their own thing based on their personal feeling is little more than a rabble. Just look at the various factions fighting in the middle east. However one could also argue that ‘just following orders’ is no defense either. One does not have to go back too far in time to hear that very excuse being used as a defense by guards at various concentration camps.

What’s really interesting though is that no one (other than the US government)actually seems to care too much about the actual content that he released. After all, have YOU heard of anything really ‘explosive’ or revealing coming out of the over seven hundred thousand documents he is reported to have leaked. So far as I can tell most of it is little more than day to day stuff with very little, if any at all, real ‘meat’.

Even though Edward Snowden was not employed directly by the government, I am sure that even as a contractor he would have had to sign various documents guaranteeing his silence in matters of ‘national security’. In spite of that he revealed a dirty, sneaky, underhand and quite possibly illegal (regardless of what the government says) data mining program related to  the nations phone use. Is such a program warranted and does it invade civil liberties? Who knows? Perhaps a topic for another post but so far as I can tell the governments main complaint is that they actually got caught doing this.

What really worries me though is not that these events occurred but the extent to which the government is actively pursuing two relatively minor people with the sort of effort reserved for the capture of Bin Laden, and I have to wonder, why?

The only reason that I can come up with is to instil fear into other like minded individuals that might consider taking a ‘whistle blower’ stance and exposing the hidden goings on in the government. Let’s face it, Manning is probably looking at a substantial prison term and in a military prison at that, and Snowden will probably never be able to return to the US or to see his family again on any sort of regular basis.

I also suspect that the Russian government is enjoying being able to stick it to the US government by granting Snowden even temporary asylum, but I also hope that Snowden manages to find some sort of peace somewhere in the world. After all, rightly or wrongly (and governments can ‘always’ justify their actions and find ways to ‘legalize’ them) Snowden did what he did because he believed that the government was abusing it’s power over the people. It is after all, supposed to be ‘by the people, for the people’.  In his own way he was trying to protect us from a possibly over zealous government that appears to find it very easy to justify such actions.

In the end though, I think that very little will really change in the long run. These men will fade into obscurity, the government will find other ways to collect the same data and other ways to justify and legalize that action and we the people will just carry on as always, pretty much oblivious to it all until men come knocking on doors in the night.

My advice to Mr Snowden any time he is thinking about coming back to the US is to take a long hard look at whatever happens Mr Manning because I am pretty sure that should Mr Snowden come back to the US, he will find himself in a very similar cell for a very similar length of time.