Scotland v. Tom Has Been Removed.

•10.08.2009 • Leave a Comment

An hour ago, after learning that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was complicit in the actions of the Scottish Minister of Justice, I have removed my blog post regarding my thoughts on the actions which I thought were taken solely by the Scots.  I called for a boycott of Scotland, and I still believe that there must be economic punishment directed towards Scotland, but I need to rethink how far the boycott should extend.

This website is also behind but it does lay out some excellent thoughts on the matter:

http://www.boycottscotland.com/

I will remove this interim post once I have my finalised blog ready.

Thank You, CNBC!

•10.08.2009 • Leave a Comment

Before proceeding, in the interest of full disclosure, I need to let you know that I, and members of my immediate family are proud, yet somewhat poverty stricken shareholders of General Electric.  The parent company of NBC, MSNBC and my personal favourite CNBC.

This post will not mention even once my distain for NBC and MSNBC solely becaause of their left wing political agenda.  Fortunately, the employees of CNBC have the freedom to express their opinions without being punished by those who command the proverbial mother ship.  I admire CNBC for their independence and for their effort to inform the business community about big picture as well as little picture issues which are of significance to us all.

I am here tonight sarcastically thanking the big shots at CNBC for something that happened earlier today. 

 “CNBC Reports” is a daily 8PM Eastern show which is a round up of the days events, not just in the business  world, but they frequently address how Washington’s decisions and indecision’s effect the business community.  The host, Dennis Kneale is an intelligent and witty young man (I believe he is slightly younger than I am) who I have had the pleasure of occasionally Tweeting with.  His job is not easy as they tend to have guests with various points of view and often Dennis has to become more of a referee than moderator. 

I assure you, there will be a point to this posting… just cut me a little slack, ok?

I started watching “CNBC Reports” daily not because of Dennis Kneale, who has worked at CNBC for 22 months now after a very successful career in business print media.  I tuned in because I was sick of Bill O’Reilly constantly bashing General Electric for everything from producing one faulty lightbulb to being responsible for the Iran/Iraq war decades ago.  O’Reilly and I see eye to eye on most things, but his daily ragging on General Electric made me want an option.  My TV is on CNBC virtually all day long, even though I receive Fox Business in High Definition.  Dish Network does not carry CNBC in HD yet.  So, returning to CNBC at the end of the business day was not a big thing and it got me away from that moron O’Reilly.  I stuck with “CNBC Reports” however for Dennis Kneale.  He is the show, I give him 1/24th of my day, 5 days a week and I am more than happy to do it.

Today, however “CNBC Reports” was reduced to 30 minutes from its’ usual hour.  Hmmmmmm.  Was this a new thing just on Fridays?  Was it a way to get “Options Action” into a slightly better time slot at 8.30PM?  Could this be a harbinger of things to come?  Could they possibly have the nerve to make this reduction in DK time permanent?  I hope not.

I am thanking the management of CNBC for this because it allowed me to spend 30 minutes on The Travel Channel watching some guy eat a 6 pound burrito in a restaurant in Las Vegas.  The show, “Man v. Food” is not educational, not informative and not even very entertaining, yet because Dennis Kneale’s show was reduced by 30 minutes, I had the honour of watching some chubby young man gorge himself in a contest in gluttony versus the clock.  Because I realise you want to know, the person was unable to eat the 6 pound burrito and thus lost the challenge and he did not get his photo on the restaurants “wall of fame”.  Sad, ‘eh?

I hope this never happens again.

A sincere and profound thank you to the management of CNBC for making my evening.

Cheers.

Pants Is Shit?

•10.08.2009 • Leave a Comment

Yeah, I might be an Anglophile but sometimes I just do not get what those guys on the east side on the pond are thinking about.

I have a friend in southern England who among the most delightful people I have met online.  We met in 1996 and with the exception of an unimportant lost decade, we have been friends ever since.  She is the inspiration for this post because she introduced me to what must be the most unusual use of any English word… ever.

A few months ago we were discussing British politics and she said, “… that is really pants.”  At that point there was a very long pause because I had no idea what she meant.  Had the subject changed from Gordon Brown to his attire?  Or perhaps she had moved on to discussing some high street shop and I had just zoned out and missed some, or even most of the conversation.

Her accent is rather posh and is very easy for me to understand.  I freely admit that there are people from various parts of England who might as well be speaking Flemish when I hear them, because I understand virtually none of what they are saying.  That is not the case with my friend from the south.  No Midland’s slang going on with this woman.

Pants?  WTF am I missing?

Not wanting to appear like the stereotypical ignorant American I still wanted to know what she meant.  She knows I am not dumb and I am fairly well versed in most things English so I decided to ask.

“Ummmm were we talking about clothing?  What did you mean by pants?”  To her, suddenly I was the ultimate stereotypical ignorant American.  I mean pants is pants and what else could pants possibly mean, right?

Apparently, pants is bad.  I know that sounds grammatically funny, but it is accurate.  Pants is bad.  Pants is shit.

HUH?

How can pants be used in any sentence and have a bad meaning?  Pants are something you wear.  Suddenly, “black pudding is pants” is supposed to make sense to me.  Come on!  I know English.  I am the one who spells in English, remember?  I know slang, but pants is just nuts.  Even a posh bird from the south can say “shit” when it is called for, and trust me she does, yet she still says “pants” when she feels like saying it.

This is one regional use of a word which is just beyond me.  Who was the first person to use the word “pants” and have it mean something bad.  Did his or her friends laugh when they heard “that chippie is pants!”?

This really boggles my American mind.  If anyone out there, on either side of the Atlantic can explain to me why pants is bad please let me know.  I need you, now… more than ever.

Cheers!

America… England… England… America

•10.08.2009 • 3 Comments
012 - Loch Ness Scotland

Loch Ness, Scotland

This post will explain why I have the nerve to spell in English yet I speak in American.  There may be a link between this and my car buying tendencies outlined in yesterdays post, but despite the fact that I over analyse everything even I will not venture into that territory.

When I was 16 I first visited England.  It was 4 weeks after I first saw The Rolling Stones at The Hollywood Palladium.  Basic math, A + B = C.  I was an instant Anglophile.  That combined with my love of calm anarchy led me to want to do everything possible to irritate my teachers when I returned to school after that summer.  If I spelled in proper English I could not possibly get in trouble.  Yeah, right.  The very first time I used the word “theatre” in a sentence I was reprimanded for mis-spelling the word.  “But, Mrs. Lovedark, “theatre” IS the proper spelling of the word.”  I was reprimanded for disrupting the class and for not knowing how to spell.  The use of the word “behaviour” came next.  Once again, my argument seemed to hold about as much water as a sieve. 

This was perfect.  Constant anarchy.  There was no way I was going to revert to American.  It was a daily battle with authority and I knew I was right.  I made certain that I knew how to spell every word in English.  (For some reason, to this day “tyre” is the one exception.) 

172 - Tower Bridge - London England

Tower Bridge as seen from the Thames River - London, England

The next step was the date.  The teachers wanted papers marked April 20 1976.  This just did not work for me.  I started using 20 April 1976.  You would have thought I brought a nuclear bomb into Glendale High School.  It was an assault on the American flag. 

Just so you know, I currently write the date as 12.08.2009.  Everything must evolve but I have to admit that having the date first, then the month took me a while to get accustomed to.  But it is just SO European.

The plot thickens when I started writing phone numbers with dots decades before it was cool in the USA.  1.888.666.8888 just looks so cool.  For many years I was responsible for the advertising for the company I worked for.  When I would create the print ads, the phone never had parenthesis or a dash.  1 (818) 241-0000 was just so American and to me, despite protests from my boss and the people who just did not understand why I was so weird I persisted and now, as you all know… the dots are commonplace.

Right now I am a one man campaign for two things.  I am Americas’ sole advocate for the use of the word “mobile” instead of “cell” and the proper English and Canadian use of the word “cheers”.   Cell phone is so 1980’s.  Our iPhones and Blackberries are so much more than mere phones.  “Mobile” says it all.  It IS a mobile device.  Deal with it America and get with the program.  Start referring to your phone as your “mobile” and your life will be dramatically improved.  “Cheers” is another story.  I lived in Canada for 2 years between 2005 and 2007.  I quickly acclimated to the use of the word “cheers” as a means of saying “good bye”.  I use it in writing (as you already know if you have been reading this blog) as well as daily use around people.  I have to admit that I get weird looks at the In N Out drive through when I say “cheers” as I drive off with my double double, but who cares?  Change does not always come easily and if I am going to succeed in this mission I must accept a few snickers.  If you hear me say “cheers” chances are I am not raising a glass to your well being, I am merely being courteous as part of the new world order.

Sidmouth, England

Sidmouth, England

It was so easy to fit in while I was living in Canada.  They spell like I do.  Live was simpler up there.  There was no one to convert to my way of thinking.

I do not think it is wrong that I do not speak in English.  I admit to speaking in American.  I see no reason to say “vit-a-MEN” when while I am in the US “vitamin” will do.  “Al-U-MIN-E-EMMM” is not going to be understood but “aluminum” will.  You see, it is not a spelling issue.  Regional pronunciations do not bother me.  Although just to confuse the matter I do often say “loo” or “cinema” but I would rarely say “fishmonger”.  This whole topic fascinates me.

Last Christmas as I prepared to cook dinner for my miniscule family I bought butter from Devon, England.  It tasted a lot like butter, but it was way more cool since it was in a round cylinder shape insead of our rectangles.  When I cook, I will only use Maldon salt from England.  I wonder if any of this explains why I enjoy Gordon Ramsey so much?  I watch him on ‘F Word’ as well as ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.  It is not a man crush and since he is Scottish that just really confuses the issue.  So, if you think I nuts you may be onto something. 

Llanarmon, Wales

Llanarmon, Wales

I could go into my use of the Metric System at this point, but since it has little to do with the subject of this post I will abstain.  That would be a great topic for another day.

I suppose my love of mild anarchy extends to American politics.  Right now, we need a minour revolution to send a message to Washington D.C., but I doubt my use of English will have much of an impact on the fascists who are trying to take over every aspect of our lives.  Opps… Sorry, I did not mean to get political.  Another hint of things to come.

Cheers.

The Mixed Up, Wacky World Economy

•10.08.2009 • Leave a Comment

I bought my car just over 4 years ago.  It is the same make as my previous car.  The old one was a green sedan, built in Germany and was the first time I have ever owned a car made by this company.  It was a great car which I drove for 13 years, and I drove it until it consumed its’ very last gulp of petrol.

The second one, my current car looks like it is a German car.  If you know anything about cars, you would easily recognise the logo of this company.  However, this car was built in Alabama.  It is not the sportiest or fastest car I have ever owned.  Actually, it is probably the most functional car that has ever graced my garage.  I bought it at a time when I was rather nomadic and was living in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  I knew I was not going to stay there long and I needed an SUV.  This is as cool as an SUV can possibly be.  But… it is an AMERICAN car built by a German manufacturer. 

The last time I owned an American car was in the late 1970’s when I had a Chevy Camaro.  It was an OK car but for whatever reasons I went the better part of 30 years without a single ounce of American sheet metal.  Part of the reason was elitism.  Owning an American car was just so fundamentally wrong.  So middle class.  The majourity of my reasoning was simple.  There was not one single American car that I wanted to own.  Their quality was inferior at best and while I did occasionally take a risk with European cars known to be less than reliable (a certain Italian trident comes to mind) at least they were European and because they were European they had to be better than American… right?

Well, now I am not so sure.  If a very well known German company can build the best car I have ever owned in Alabama, why can’t an American company build an equally good car in Tennessee or maybe even Michigan?

Now do not get me wrong.  I am not having a moment where I am condoning purchasing an American car.  Generally they are inferior in both styling and reliability but maybe someday they will be truly worthy of my discretionary dollars.

This brings me to another topic.  Unions.  Specifically the United Auto Workers.  I do not want to get all political at this point in time, but part of my resistance to buying an American car has always been my stance against the UAW.  I know the person who puts the bumper on my car or installs the electrical harness for the power seats is a hard working American who clearly deserves their job as much as the next guy.  But, what I will never understand is why they deserve to earn $90/hour minimum?  The union determines the wages which are inflated beyond recognition in an attempt to move the worker up the social economic ladder.  Yet, the only people who truly benefit from labor unions are the politicians they support and the union bosses who take a part of the workers dues and put it right into their pockets.

Amerian workers deserve a fair wage.  But, with the layers and layers of padding added to their wages which must be repaid to the union there is no true benefit to the worker and certainly no benefit to the consumer of the products he or she is building.  Hopefully, the UAW and the United States government gets the message now.  If they want to keep the jobs they have to build an exceptional product theat people want to buy at a fair price.  If they are smart enough to keep the cost of labour at a reasonable level, everyone will benefit.

Having said all that, I really like my American built SUV.

Cheers.

Why Do I Need A Blog?

•10.08.2009 • 1 Comment

I suck at writing.  I do not enjoy it, which I suppose is why I suck so much.  I had never really thought about my own blog until a few days ago when a friend on Twitter suggested that I should give it a shot.  I thought about it and realised that the statute of limitations has expired on almost everything I want to say so there is almost no legal reason not to give it a shot.

Since I know you want to know a few things about me let’s give it a shot.  This will be the Reader’s Digest version since I do not want anyone to be involuntarily sedated by this stuff.  I first saw The Rolling Stones in 1972, when I was 16… Feel free to do the math if you feel the need.  Since then I have seen multiple shows on every tour.  I have seen them in tiny theatres, massive outdoor venues and everything inbetween.  It is odd how a bandcan be one of the few constants in my life, but they have been.  I do not know how I will react when it comes to an end.  The Stones may figure prominently in future blogs.  After all, to quote the guy in that lift in Moncton, New Brunswick, “It’s only rock ‘n roll… but I like it.”

I used to photograph rock bands, including The Stones, Faces, David Bowie, The Runaways (at some point they will get their own massive blog entry) and other bands which I either do not remember or because of the 1970’s I am unable to remember.  It was fun, I got into clubs for free, I partied with rock stars but at some point I decided my education was more important so it was au revoir Hollywood.

I have lived most of my life in Los Angeles (I am a valley boy) , Cocoa Beach, Florida (very briefly, I bailed before hurricane season), Ottawa, the amazing capital of Canada and now I am near Palm Springs, California.  I am not a big fan of the desert, but why I am here deserves a separate entry, also.

I was going to mention politics, but I think I will save that for a moment in time when I am not mad at America for allowing itself to be duped last November.  LOL, maybe that was a hint of future political ramblings.

By the way, any photos I post here, including the header (which was taken outside of Perth, Scotland) were taken by me.  I have never taken a photo because I needed to, even if I was paid for my work, my photos are always taken because I wanted to.  There is no reason for me to ever post a picture which I have not taken personally.

I thought this was going to be a proverbial word marathon, but I am content with this.  However, I clearly did not answer my own question, “Why do I need a blog?”.  Maybe over time the answer will be obvious.

If anyone reads this I welcome comments or questions.

Cheers.