Sunday, 27 February 2011

Wisdom from Training Manuals

As I often teach classes at church, and find an injection of humour keeps people awake and attentive,  I'm always looking for material that one day may fit with a subject. I have loads of stuff stored on my laptop, most of it is collected while surfing the net, some of it may never see the light of day. 
The following has been stored away for a couple of years. I can no longer remember its source so they may be made up or for real, either way there is some wisdom, if not humour to be found amongst them ! 

'If the enemy is in range, so are you.'
-Infantry Journal-

 'It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.'
- US.Air Force Manual -

'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword, obviously never encountered automatic weapons.'
- General MacArthur -

'You, you, and you ... Panic.     The rest of you, come with me.'
- Infantry Sgt.-

 'Tracers work both ways.'
- Army Ordnance Manual-

'Five second fuses last about three seconds.'
- Infantry Journal -
'Any ship can be a minesweeper. Once.'
- Naval Ops Manual -
'Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.'
- Unknown Infantry Recruit-
'If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him.'
- Infantry Journal-

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'
- Sign over SR71 Wing Ops-

'You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3.'
-Paul F. Crickmore (SR71 test pilot)-
'The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.'
-Unknown Author-

'If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage it has to be a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe.'
- Fixed Wing Pilot-
'When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane, you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.'
-Multi-Engine Training Manual-

 'Without ammunition, the Air Force is just an expensive flying club.'
-Unknown Author-
'If you hear me yell;"Eject, Eject, Eject!", the last two will be echos.'
If you stop to ask "Why?", you'll be talking to yourself, because by then you'll be the pilot.'
-Pre-flight Briefing from a Canadian F104 Pilot-
'What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?
If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies; but If ATC screws up, .... the pilot dies.'
-Sign over Control Tower Door-
'Never trade luck for skill.'
-Author Unknown-

'Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it.'
- Emergency Checklist-
'The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.'
- Attributed to Max Stanley (Northrop test pilot) -

As the test pilot climbs out of the experimental aircraft, having torn off the wings and tail in the crash landing, the crash truck arrives.

The rescuer sees the bloodied pilot and asks,'What happened?'
The pilot's reply: 'I don't know, I just got here myself!'


Saturday, 26 February 2011

Social Networking

Love it or hate it, Facebook has become part of life for many of us that frequent the internet on a regular basis. I have no intention of dissecting the service offered or ranting about privacy issues, I just think that our interaction with what is offered, is worth exploring.

I have to say I "get" the idea, its all in the description, "Social" & "Networking"  Using computers to keep us connected takes the technology of a telephone into the next generation.. The idea that we can share a little of our lives with others is great. I have friends that have families scattered around the globe and Facebook allows an informal way of keeping in touch. I also have, friends, kids and family that organise their social life via Facebook events, or chats. I recognise too that it allows everyone to have their "15 minutes of fame" 

I have had a Facebook account for sometime now, Mrs RJR and my 2 eldest, Rachel and Jake do too. Our youngest Ruth doesn't and that's because we are strict and believe if an organisation states you have to be 13 to join they mean you have to be 13. It frustrates me when I hear radio discussions about Facebook not doing enough to protect the youngest... They shouldn't have accounts in the first place, you have to enter your date of birth to sign up, if you are under 13 you would have to be a little sparing with the truth.

As a family we have a good relationship and my kids are happy for their parents to be "Facebook Friends"  seeing their profile. I do think its important that we know what are teenagers do and who they interact with, not just in life but in their virtual lives too. Having said that, although I check in on their pages, I rarely join in their conversations. If something was going the wrong way advice would be offered off line face to face.


I cant help feeling that Facebook users miss the point and the opportunity offered

Many times I used to log on and straight back off, because lots of Facebook content is a list of one line half teasing Status updates, I say teasing what I mean is  .."Albert is...recovering after a takeaway"  ......what does that mean?? Did it make him ill, has he eaten to much, do I need to call and offer my condolences, chastise for being greedy or send round some Rennies ?? I solved a lot of this by removing some "friends" from my list !
Now Albert (made up name) might not be very big on story telling but how about ....."Albert is resting after having a great Indian takeaway, Had a great evening with friends and watched our favourite show Take me out" ........This would have given me a bit more to go on, perhaps motivating  me to interact or Network in a Social way ??   I guess what I am getting at, surely the idea of a Social Network is that it makes us more social, next time I meet Albert and know what he likes to eat our relationship is a bit better?

The second point is mainly a concern for the more innocent, in particular our Youth, many times I wonder if they remember what they write is not the same as a Private Message or Email, it is basically PUBLIC !  Yesterday I saw a comment on Jakes wall by a friend, giving her Mobile Number out ?? This cant be a good idea can it.? Surely doing this via an inbox message or chat would be safer. I see comments and behaviour by kids that  just doesn't reflect the way they are in the REAL world. So point 2 I worry people forget that Facebook is not a game or Virtual world if you hurt or offend some ones feelings on line they are really hurt!

Finally I have seen a lot of desire for a "dislike" button. To me this just takes even more sociality out, to be a social network you have to socialise don't you ?? Lets all stop using the "Like" button and start using the "comment" button !!!!! If you dislike you can comment on that too !!

Feel free to socialize, interact and share your opinions on this, there is a comment box below but sorry no "Dislike" button :)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Driving Update

My first post on this blog was nearly a month ago now. The L plates are back marking the close of my stint as a driving instructor to my eldest daughter Rachel. The plan was always that Rachel would take a month out of "professional" driving lessons and the money saved paid for a month of insurance on my car.
I don't think it is a reflection on my teaching, but her driving has definitely improved. Its probably just being able to get out and practice more often in a more relaxed atmosphere. Well done Rach !
I'm happy to report that apart from a scuffed front passenger wheel trim the car is undamaged, which is a definite bonus, especially as it is now being sold...

We have decided to make some family car changes, partly prompted by escalating fuel prices.Currently unleaded is costing £1.30 for a litre, that's £5.85 per UK gallon or $7.92 for a US gallon ,which I think is a bit dearer than my state side friends will be paying, (Google suggests less than $3) Added  to the current prices, the news suggests that by the end of March further increases will result in a further 15pence a gallon due to the instability in the Middle East AND 15pence a gallon due to taxation a potential of  £6.30 per  UK gallon. (Dad if your reading this I remember when I was younger you complained at the price topping £1.00 a gallon !!!!)

So the plan is ...

Rachel, inherited a Hyundai Amica. A tiny 1litre car it will be more economical for city driving that Mrs RJR does a lot of, so this will be used for her work around Manchester. It is also cheaper to tax and hopefully insure. It has spent the last 15months parked on our drive. I fitted a new battery on Wednesday and it fired up first time, runs well and has only done 9,000 miles.

We have a VW Touran as a family car, currently used by Mrs RJR, It is big enough for my work and will be more efficient for me on motorways . So this will become my work vehicle. Having been ours from new it should also be the most known/reliable of our 3 vehicles. Keeping it will allow it to be used for longer family journeys, that he Amica would be uncomfortable in

I currently have a Citreon Berlingo which we will sell. The sale will free some cash that we can save for a future car purchase when the eldest can afford to run the silver car herself.
Its up for £2995 if anyone is interested :)

Of course the last point, Rachel running the silver car herself may be a while down the line.. So far the cheapest quote we have had for her to insure it, after passing her driving test was £3,000  which sounds expensive until you consider the dearest quote we have had is £10,000 !!!!!!!!! which I think this translates to .. we don't want to insure young new driivers !

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Our Deepest Fear

This is probably one of my favourite quotes......

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."    
(A Return to Love:  Marianne Williamson)

I have often heard this quoted as being by Nelson Mandela, but you don't have to do much searching on Google to discover that it has never been used by Mr Mandela.

"The famous passage from her book is often erroneously attributed to the inaugural address of Nelson Mandela. About the misattribution Williamson said, "Several years ago, this paragraph from A Return to Love began popping up everywhere, attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural address. As honored as I would be had President Mandela quoted my words, indeed he did not. I have no idea where that story came from, but I am gratified that the paragraph has come to mean so much to so many people." quoted from

In fact I have read all of Nelson Mandela's inaugural address myself and can confirm it is not there !

The passage also appears in the film "Coach Carter" It is changed slightly, perhaps to remove the Christian element. 

And while we are on the subject of motivational movie speeches ..... here is another form the last "Rocky" film

"It's not about how hard you hit...... It's about how hard you can get hit......... And keep moving forward"

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Just for fun

Sometimes you just need a smile...

Perhaps its just my warped sense of humour ??

KR2WSXU2JAAP This is just a code to verify I own this blog to get it listed on Technorati

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Getting noticed on YouTube ?

I have to say, I think YouTube is fascinating,

I've had an account with them since November 2006 and as part of my model making hobby I have been uploading videos ever since.
In the 4+ years, I have created and uploaded 153 videos and collectively they have had 493,396 views.
But of them all, one video stands out head and shoulders above the rest for audience pulling power, with a whopping 255,292 views.

My brother-in-law (who doesn't share an interest in my hobby) did suggest the video had been watched by several thousand sad individuals OR it has been watched by ONE VERY SAD individual several thousand times !!!

Now as much as I enjoy my hobby, I don't take it seriously enough to imagine small plastic trains hold that much of an attraction to thousands of people, so I did some delving into the YouTube insight statistics.
It would seem this video is most popular amongst middle aged men, in Asia, who found it searching Google.

Not convinced that Model Railways are the biggest hobby in the Asian continent, I decided to type "first night video" into Google and YouTube search.


It turns out that the term "first night" has a bit of an adult theme particularly on the Asian Google  !! So I would imagine that most of my 255 thousand plus watchers, were somewhat disappointed with what they found.

Of course this could be considered a disappointment for me,
but there is a twist.... I get the last laugh....
Because of the videos popularity I was approached by TrackoneRecordings who asked if I would accept £50 to use YouTube's audio swap function to promote one of their songs !!!!
So for all you middle aged guys out there, that felt you had been let down by what you found... THANKS.... I probably enjoyed spending the cash more than you enjoyed watching my video.....................

But for those of you with a spare few hours to kill, you can always check out the rest of my uploads at   >>>   RJR Branch Line YouTube Channel

Saturday, 19 February 2011


Driving home last night, Mrs RJR played a song track from a CD a friend had lent her. The entire CD was a mix of songs and excerpts from church leaders speaking. As we drove in the dark, one particular song/talk captured my imagination, I couldn't help thinking that with a bit of time playing with my video editor, it would go well with some visuals. So today's blog is short on words but the effort and time was put into adding pictures and videos to the music track...

Here is my interpretation of it .....

I guess this post is a bit of a follow on from the Profound Thoughts post of a few days ago.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Scary Footpath

Last year on our Holidays in St Andrews, Mrs RJR took us on a nice gentle coast walk. Well that was the plan, it ended up being a 9 mile hike round all the tiny coves and bays, with a little rock climbing thrown in ! It was good fun and it felt like we had conquered the elements.

Tonight I came across this video taken in Spain, I no longer think our walk was an adventure !!

El Caminito del Rey (English: The King's little pathway) is a walkway or via ferrata, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in the province of Málaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to Camino del Rey (English: King's pathway).

In 1901 it became obvious that workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls needed a walkway to cross between the falls, to provide for transport of materials, and for the inspection and maintenance of the channel. Construction of the walkway took four years and it was finished in 1905.
In 1921 King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce and it became known by its present name.

In some places the walkway has collapsed.
The walkway is one meter (3 feet and 3 inches) in width, and rises over 100 meters (350 feet) above the river below. It is currently in a highly deteriorated state and there are numerous sections where part of or the entire concrete top has collapsed away. The result is large open air gaps that are bridged only by narrow steel beams or other support fixtures. Very few of the original handrails exist but a Via ferrata safety-wire runs the length of the path. Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years and after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000 the local government closed both entrances. source Wikipedia

If you watched all the way to the end, go and have a lie down.. you deserve it !!!!!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


I have spent a fair amount of time this last couple of days, browsing other peoples blogs. Some I found through Blogs of Note, others I have found by visiting those who have commented on blogs.
I haven't taken to everything I have seen or read, but one thing that really strikes me, is just how creative people are. Creativity seems to manifest itself in so many different ways. I have read about films, cookery, model making, and life in general. Even when the blogs are not about a creative activity, the blog itself is creative !
I have had "my other" blog since April last year and made a fair few posts but never really strayed to far from its topic. Its only this last month with the creation of this blog, that I have dared to be a bit more "open" about my thoughts. I have to say I have found it quite expressive in itself, spending time thinking how to present a thought, in an interesting and aesthetically pleasing way is proving to be fun !!
Perhaps bloggers, in general, need to be creative, through artistic or linguistic expression, perhaps they are all in touch with the right side of their brain ??

One of the reasons I fell into blogging last year, was a desire to have more artistic control over how I presented my model making. I had been posting on forums relating to the subject matter but was rightly under the control of the forum owner. The other reason was a feeling of disappointment at the other form of social networking ... Facebook...  I joined Facebook thinking it was a great idea, allowing people to share and  truely "network" getting to know more about each other, perhaps even learn along the way. I now find that an endless stream of one line wall posts is somewhat "uncreative" Many people seem to use status updates to share things that are totally random?? When you compare a Facebook status of  "looking forward to my dinner" with a well written blog post .. I know what I would rather be reading !
If you came to this post via a link on Facebook, why not be daring and click on the B at the top right of the page and create a blog yourself ?

Back to creativity, I've been thinking of some things I have created, I build scale models as a hobby, repair property and fit kitchens and bathrooms for a living, so most of my waking hours are creating. Most of the time I can stand back and enjoy my creations which is very fulfilling. But there are some things I have had a hand in creating, which are much more impressive...

Having witnessed the birth of all three of my children and experienced the feelings when a tiny hand holds yours, I have to say THEY are my greatest creations, and I only played a small part :)

If you were wondering where the RJR comes from in all my internet names... Its the the 3 of them ... Rachel, Jacob and Ruth

In closing please take the time to watch this excellent short clip Creation, its VERY inspiring, well I think it is anyway !!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Light relief

After my last deep thinking and potentially profound post, today I present, at great personal expense a little light entertainment. 

Roses are red..
Valentines day
"Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs, Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. " source wikipedia 

So in the best of valentine traditions, here is the e-card I have sent to Mrs RJR with the help of those nice people at JibJab 

Enjoy your Valentines Day and remember

"If you love em ...Tell em !!"

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Profound Thoughts

"If you don't have a profound thought once a day..... 
Your not thinking deep enough"

The following video may well be one of the most amazing things you will ever see, remember this is not special effects or camera tricks. It is time lapse photography at its very best ! 

It also helps that the subject matter (creation)  is astounding too.....

Watching how the stars trace an orbital patten in the sky, highlights that we are truly moving in space, perhaps for a brief moment we realise that WE are NOT the centre of the universe.

Take some time and visit the website to see more amazing videos....

Then again, you may watch to the end and think you have  missed the point, what's profound to me, may be ordinary to you !

As always comments welcome...

Friday, 11 February 2011

Sometimes I'm suprised

As an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormon) I sometimes come across others of my faith in unusual places.

For example, if you think of Mormons in music, you may come up with "The Mormon Tabernacle Choir" but as polished and proficient as they are, they are not on every church members ipod !
You may think that the most current you can get is "The Osmonds" clean cut and straight laced, well you would be wrong..............

Not so long ago, a band called The Killers had a big hit with "Human" and although the lead singer Brandon Flowers has a "rock star" lifestyle, he wasn't shy in admitting he had a Mormon background, openly sharing that he struggled to live his faith to the full.

Brandon Flowers (lead singer of The Killers)

Tonight on TV, I was watching a music channel and saw a band called the Neon Trees who come from Utah. Now not all residents of Utah are Mormons but there has to be a good chance. So I did some internet research and discovered this Rock Band are indeed LDS, including the Mohawk sporting Lead singer who apparently served as a mormon missionary.

Tyler Glenn

To be fair some of the bands image and lyrics may make their Bishops sit up and take notice but you have to give it up for people that go through life and are open about their beliefs, accepting that they aspire to, if not achieve the standards they believe in. I guess there are those that would say its hypocritical not living everything that you believe, but maybe to some extent or another we are all in that position. Perhaps its more about desire and trying ? Then again perhaps I have them wrong and they go home and wear dark suits and are perfect Mormons. Either way I like that good, bad or indifferent people are not ashamed to admit what they are. Whatever they are.

Neon Trees

In closing you may notice a new little icon in the top right of my blog  
during my research into Neon Trees I came across a blog directory of other Mormon blogs and requested a listing. Give it a click you never know what else you may find ??

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


It would seem fitting that given yesterdays "re-branding" of the ASBO, today's blog would be about crime and disorder. The new system will be "Criminal Behaviour" and could result in little "hoodies" having their ipod confiscated by the long arm of the law.

Last week the government launched its new CRIME MAP website, which at the click of a mouse, allows you to enter your postcode and discover how likely you are to get mugged on the way to work. I thought about blogging this last week, but unfortunately the first 2 days of service of said site were problematic and in fact the site was unavailable most of the first 48 hours. At first I wondered if their servers had been stolen, in some ironic theft, but it would appear that they were just overload by visitors.

What is uncertain is who wants this information so badly that the system crashes due to demand, it could be

  • Concerned residents wanting to to see how bad their neighbourhood is.
  • Unconcerned residents wanting to see how good there neighbourhood is.
  • Estate agents keen to adjust house prices up or down accordingly.
  • Insurance companies looking for price hike excuses.
  • Police officers wanting to see how effective they are.
  • Or criminals looking for areas that have not been exploited to their full potential.

I'm not cynical enough to make a judgement on the above I will let you draw your own conclusions, comment if you wish... but perhaps I will ask the local neighbourhood watch coordinator, not to call the Police if we get any more groups of youths being noisy on the street, its playing havoc with our national ranking ! But then again, as the same government is potentially reducing the police force by up to 10,000 officers we may not get a response anyway ?

Friday, 4 February 2011


I'm not really a regular purchaser of newspapers but today I splashed out 20p for a copy of the Independents new offering " i "
I have seen it advertised on TV and I think part of the draw was just finding out what it was all about.

Growing up I don't ever recall my parents buying newspapers, but  my Father-in-Law, before retiring used to print the Express (not single handedly of course)

When Mrs RJR and I first met and dated, I have memories of sitting in her parents kitchen which always had copies of the Express on the table. On occasions the Express would print for other papers and some days there would be copies of The Sun. Of course to protect the innocent, my Father-in-Law would carefully tear just the nipples from the page 3 girls, which I always found amusing, surely taking the page out would be more successful ?

After getting married we always managed to be on his route home from work, so he would post a copy of The Express through our letter box at about 4am. To our shame there has been at least one occasion he woke us by shouting up the stairs, as the front door wasn't locked ! But I digress.. After his retirement we were faced with either doing without or buying our own paper, for a period Mrs RJR would buy an Express but that stopped, mainly because we both felt the paper we had become used to, always managed to paint its front page with doom and gloom. Headlines would depress you before you even open the paper, and generally reading the article, it became obvious they had gone out of their way to look for the worst in the story to put in big letters.

In the news at the moment are the stories of "phone hacking" and Mr Murdoch's News International wanting to expand its share in the Sky empire. From the outside it would seem that newspapers are no longer happy reporting the news, they want to be it, or worse create it. I also find it frustrating if listening to radio 2 on the way to work the story is "Today so and so will announce" can't we just wait till the announcement ??

Back to "i" it has to be said I was quite taken. The lady at Asda, when I paid, commented that it was very thin, which it is, but ...its just news and news in brief. It is more of cross between a printed paper and an internet feed. The stories are enough to inform, without endless paragraphs of waffle and opinion. Todays copy has 56 pages with very few adverts. The journalistic style seems to be factual and direct.

Here is a feed from the website to give you a feel of what they include, it is a live feed so if you come back to this post later it will still be current

So if I fancy buying a paper again it will probably be "i"

Thumbs up from me !

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Good day to bury bad news ?

It would seem the world is in a state of constant change at the moment. The big news story is thousands of Egyptians taking the the streets to force change on their government. Im not an expert on Middle East politics but it would appear as a people they face problems not just from who rules, but also who doesn't. While the masses are out protesting they have to leave vigilantes at home to protect their property against opportunistic looters. Perhaps there is a lesson from the paradox,...when you topple a state you loose its protection as well as its harassment ? But then they may feel that is a price worth paying.

If you live in Australia and are recovering from the floods, the latest weather forecasts offer no let up with  Cyclone Yasi due to 186 miles per hour

At home we have the bizarre situation, that while most are trying to save money, the premier league is spending it like water. To be fair I am not a dedicated follower of, " the beautiful game " so my views will be clouded, but, surely in these times of prudence no player is worth £50M ?? I'm sure Liverpool fans don't value him so highly  now he has commented that its great to finally full fill his ambition to be at a big club.

Just a thought but the £225M total League spend would alternatively fund ....

  • Oldham Council is loosing £17M which will cost 850 jobs
  • Liverpool Council loosing £91M with 2000 job losses
  • Greater Manchester Police loosing £134M and 3000 jobs
  • Globally approx £5 spent buys a Mosquito net, which would save the 17% of African kids that die from Malaria (£225M buys a lot of £5 nets)

But of course these are just the headlines that dominate the news and the papers, Funny that the biggest reform to our National Health Service is being debated in Parliament, the white paper was put to debate on the 27th of January 2011 and yet it is hardly mentioned, if at all. Should the bill be passed, the government would like the changes to PCT's and GPs to be well under way by this time next year. Its a long and drawn out proposal but if your interested you can skim read it here

We have several NHS employees in our family, A doctor, a physiotherapist, a couple of nurses so financially it probably effects us more than many, but to listen to their opinions eventually it will effect us all in terms of our heath. Its a good job the incumbent government was elected on a manifesto of "ring fencing" NHS spending or heaven knows how they could have made major changes ! 

Perhaps it really is a good day to bury bad news ??


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