Saturday, 13 January 2007

Bloody hell

Fancy something like this running about in the fields. This is mega frightening. My dog has run under the table whimpering. I'm sure she will have nightmares tonight.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Way to go

I do not know whether this guy is telling the truth or is hogwashing. If it is true, it is a perfect example of why the American way of doing things works for individuals.

I am not being disloyal to my country when I say that I can think of few here in UK who would have faced these sort of problems and made the struggle to rise above them.

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Read it and see what you think


Well, it’s back. All over UK the personal programming for Thursday night TV has the one fixed point around which all else must adjust. ER has returned. The onward march continues strong. Though, I have to say, IMHO not as strong as it used to be. For me, the last really good season was the one where we lost Doc Green. He held one’s attention whenever he was in view.
I did once read some learned treatise along the lines that no show maintains it’s initial drive beyond the third season. Certainly, they do change. The writers learn what switches us on and concentrate on those ideas. ER used to have as many plots and sub-plots as there were characters but now we have the one continuing theme (currently Abby, Kovac and the baby) with two or three other threads which arise and are settled within the one hour time frame.
For me, the American series idea started with Bonanza. One of my sons seemed to have the firm idea that he had been abducted from the Bonanza ranch by aliens and transported to be left with us. He used to mount-up astride the back of the sofa and gallop into action with (his) Uncle Buck. MASH came along just as I had left the service and reminded me of my spell in Korea and other associations with the American Army. The Tannoy announcements with their surreal messages never failed to get a laugh from me. The mix of poignant and comedy was perfect to the extent that I always thought the series could have been adopted by the anti-war brigade as propaganda. MASH was one where I thought the level went right through to that final episode. The Col Potter years were vintage. Henry and Hotlips were a constant joy. Radar and Klinger were company clerks from hell.
MASH led us into Hill Street Blues. The action on and off duty between Furillo and his DA girlfriend was a solid base for the zany Fay whilst Belker and the SWAT guy could always be relied upon for solid plotting and performance. I think I can close my eyes and watch a rerun of the alligator in the sewer episode. It followed the style where it featured a number of intertwined storylines in each episode, and pioneered depiction of the conflicts between the work and private lives of officers on which the police procedural was centered. The show had a deliberate "documentary" style, depicting officers who were flawed and human, and dealt openly with the gray areas of morality between right and wrong. NYPD followed. Here again, tremendous stuff at first but I lost interest when Sipowitz got married. Nudity and profanity gained a TV footing from this show.
I can remember the earliiest American shows that came over. Peyton Place, Dragnet, Untouchables. There must have been some differences here as I cannot recall plots or characters with any clarity.
Some shows took off and changed format. Law and Order as I recall it started with the law firm run by a very large guy. It has become the Law and Order of today. This has overtones of Dragnet for me.
Another thing I got from these shows was the music. Great stuff.
I can only remember a very few British TV dramas. That is, aside from Blackadder which must be amongst the very best matched only by Porridge. Upstairs Downstairs, Forsythe Saga, Onedin Line all seemed to be written for export more than home consumption. I’m told the supremacy of the American product is a cost thing. We can buy many more hours from them that we can make here.

Devil dog

For those essential moments of light relief, I sometimes dip into Dear Prudence ( and see how society in the USA lives. The piece below had a special significance here in UK where a pit bull type dog savaged and killed a small girl. Police action discovered a wide net of pit bull breeders which is a dog totally banned here. As a dog trainer and owner, I cannot understand the continued existence of any dog that draws human blood so, for my money, the question of Cujo coming to the get-together would never have arisen as he would have gone up the Golden Stairway.

Dear Prudence, My sister has an old dog, part pit bull. The dog has always been very skittish, and over the years, has nipped at the ankles of men and on occasion a woman (including myself). My husband, brother, and two older sons have been nipped on several occasions, and the dog is now starting to nip at the ankles of my 7-year-old son. We really never made much of an issue of this. Recently, my sister attempted to take the dog outside, when it bit her and held on to her hand, causing puncture wounds and resulting in a hospital stay for a severe infection. She insists this was not the dog's fault because he is deaf and was startled. Whenever my parents have a gathering at their home, my sister insists on bringing the dog. Last night, my mother asked me if my family would like to come over for a get-together. I respectfully requested that she ask my sister to leave the dog home. This morning my mother told me that the gathering has been cancelled because of my request. Please let me know if I am out of line.
—Wants My Son in One Piece

Dear Wants, So, collectively, the family leaves with fewer limbs than it came with—what is this compared to the happiness of a demented pit bull? No, you are not out of line, but something is awry with your family dynamics if your mother would prefer to cancel the event than tell her daughter she has to leave Cujo at home. Untrained dogs who view grandchildren as appetizers should be banned from family social events. Don't back down.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Ms Rice does not curry favour

The perfect pixie speaks out giving Iraq's PM notice that he is living on borrowed time if he does not get his people more involved. Seems that raid on the Iranian building was just a forerunner of action US might take in dealing with countries who seek to interfere with Iraqi progress.

Certainly no lack of resolve to go all the way in Iraq and never mind that report.

Well received

So, looks as if the news about troop reinforcements in Iraq is generally approving.

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President Bush ups the ante

Report from Iraq

Interesting report from Iraq. By a (very) senior officer so we can know he has had the opportunity to see a wide area of what is going on.

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As a general sees things.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007


My message here is simple. You can make a point without being disrespectful. You can make your point without attacking Politicians, Soldiers, Veterans and those who support them. You can make your point without blocking of streets to wave
banners, spitting on soldiers or demeaning the sacrifice of those who choose to serve

This comes from a blog passed to me by an American friend. It follows upon a very moving poem that claims to be known to many Australians. That is at and deserves reading in it’s entirity. The Australians were heavily into the Vietnam operation to an extent we Brits may not fully appreciate.Their participation then can well form the basis for a course of conduct now.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

This is for "Joe"

You have emerged from Anonymous and refer to yourself as Joe. I control the comment section and your ranting will never get into the blog. You comment on personal matters with absolutely no full knowledge other than what may have been drip fed into your mind. I have asked that you contact me on my e-mail address and I will most certainly answer any query you may have or comment on anything you wish to raise through that channel. On here - never.

Sorry folks. I object to being stalked.


This blog is appropos nothing really. It was sent to me by a friend in America who knew I'd appreciate the sentiment.
I always saw Wayne as an icon of the way America worked. I admired his open stance on many things. His 1971 comments about white supremecy (no prominent role for blacks until they were sufficiently educated) caused a rumpus but coming on the tail end of my own opinions based on what was happening in England they rang a bell with me. My most-loved area of America was that South West bit around Arizona (sorry John - you bit is nice too) and I think that followed on from seeing so many Wayne films. Plus I like deserts and wide open space. That long drive into Monument Valley from Kayenta down a dead straight road into the canyon country always had me wetting myself in excitement. I'm going to have to end this - I feel a quick dip into The Searchers coming on.


I am just going to tack on an admin note. I moderate comments - this following an episode where some idiot wanted to use the blog to post ideas that had no connection with the subject of my post. I have again had a situation where "anonymous" wished to take up something in my personal life with no connection to anything I had written.
I know who "anonymous" might be. I rejected the comment but if the coward who thinks he is sheltered behind that name wishes to contact me ( I will deal with his problem.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Not just any old mum

Has to be a Spanish - old age pensioner mother.

Words fail me.

Nice to know that it is not just our NHS that is mad

Boredom wins

The companies who provide our car insurance and the home insurance are ones we have used for quite a while. I have had to use the car insurance twice and found that they were quick and efficient. The home insurance seems to do what it says on the tin when I asked for some advice a while back.

Given these standards, I do not chase around getting alternative prices prior to renewing. They make it easier to drift along like this by advising me well in advance what the next year's premium will be.

Sitting here in a state of absolute boredom, I thought that I would try out one of these instant quotes over the internet. I have two speeding fines and expected a significant hike in costs for those.

A little chastened in my financial abilities, I now have a car insurance scheme at 50% of what I was paying and a home insurance that is just under 60% of the old cost. I tried out the help desks of both the new companies and it seems they have call centres here in England so I will never be subjected to la la land lingo.

I'm now looking to see just what else I can chip away at on the internet quote front.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Putting 2 and 2 together

This struck a chord with me as I have just finished a stimulating half-hour assembling a set of book-shelves. It all ended up OK as I had no pieces left over and no pre-drilled holes showing empty. However, the whole process is fraught with tension as one knows that at any time it can all go wrong and there is no way back once dowels have had glue applied and those patent screw devices have been tightened.
When we moved to what is now Chez Nous, we bought a large work-bench to go in the attic. This is a reasonable project as the attic is quite large. The difficulty to instant gratification by buying a bench was that the final flight of stairs is quite circular and is also narrow. Solution – buy a kit. Take it upstairs in the smaller constituents and assemble it there. To say that the IKEA workbench is a complicated unit is a real understatement but we managed it. Problem will come if we ever decide to try to take the bench with us as we move. It will be a job for a guy with a chain-saw.

The saga continues

We hear long explanations from USA and Britain that things are well advanced towards Iraq being run by the Iraqi people.

That, of course, was prior to the cellphone video that was taken in the death chamber finding it's way to world-wide distribution. I'm told that the old phrase about "couldn't organise a pi*s up in a brewery" has now been altered to "couldn't organise a hanging in Iraq" when one needs to signify a total lack of organisation. Even something as simple as taking note of the fact that his death took place on a religious holiday was ignored. This was compounded when critics of this spoke out and were told that it was only a religious holiday for the people of Saddam's sect.

And now we have this. The allegations that the body was abused and ill-handled were met by officialdom, not with promises of an investigation, but dismissed as being a political manouvre. I do not aim to prejudge any inquiry but we have all seen the jubilation and insults tendered when his statue was toppled such that it appears that some demonstrations do tend to get out of hand.

I am not a tree-hugging softie here. I fully support the execution. I'm content that it should have been carried out in Iraq by Iraqis. Where the Americans dropped the ball was in not making sure that the thing was properly carried out. 1 -2 - 3 click; all over. Now, I feel his whole arrest, detention and trial were debased by the manner of his death and the chaos that provided a incubator for the allegations we are now seeing.