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!