Monday, 30 May 2011

Texting for Seniors

I take no credit for the following and admit fully to blatantly stealing it from my Dads blog !!! My defence, well I haven't really got one, other than to say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery??

He is quite a man to imitate too, at 30 years and 20 days my senior he really shouldn't be so good at this computer lark!

Come on how many  Silver Surfers in their seventies do you know that maintain 2 blogs and a YouTube account along with spending far too much of my inheritance on itunes vouchers ?? He is in fact more technologically savy than many of my peers ! He can be found at Petes Boats or Etherow Model Boat club

So here is texting for the more mature

ATD - At the Doctor's
BFF - Best Friends Funeral
BTW - Bring the Wheelchair
CBM - Covered by Medicare
FWBB - Friend with Beta Blockers
FWIW - Forgot Where I Was / Forgot Who I was
FYI - Found Your Insulin (someone sent this to me and I thought it meant For Your Information) - beginning to wonder now!
GGPBL - Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low
GHA - Got Heartburn Again
HGBM - Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO - Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO - Laughing My Dentures Out
OMMR - On My Massage Recliner
OMSG - Oh My! Sorry, Gas
ROFL...CGU - Rolling on the Floor Laughing...Can't get Up!
TTYL - Talk to You Louder
WAITT - Who Am I Talking To?
WWNO - Walker Wheels Need Oil
GGLKI - Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking in

Enjoy !

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Another Family Blogger

There is another Teal in the Blogosphere !!

Youngest R (Ruth) has been working away on a second blog / business venture to market her handmade cards for sometime. Now eldest R (Rachel) has decided to promote her skill of gift wrapping Wedding and Party Favours. 

If you get 5mins please pop in and see what they are up to, Perhaps even follow, I know they would appreciate it

Rachel can be found at Party Favour and Ruth is at Creative Minds

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I Have a Dream - Does Obama ?

The State visit of Barack Obama to Great Britain has focused our media on him as an individual, in particular there are attempts made to draw comparisons to another black American orator, Martin Luther King.

Today President Obama addressed the British Parliament in Westminster Hall and it is fair to say Mr President, you either have a very good speech writer, are a talented speaker, or both.

The sound bites that will go down in history are probably his opening remarks...

"I have known few greater honours than the opportunity to address the mother of Parliaments at Westminster Hall, I am told that the last three speakers here have been the Pope, Her Majesty the Queen and Nelson Mandela, which is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke."

The following could well be the line on every news show and paper for the next 24 hours...

"It is possible for the sons and daughters of former colonies to sit here as members of this great parliament and for the grandson of a Kenyan who served as a cook in the British army to stand before you as President of the United States,"

This line stands out on several levels, not least the suggestion that both our countries offer opportunities to its population rather than repressing them.

Will he ever be as remembered though as Martin Luther, only time will tell, but here is a reminder of an August day in 1963. King took to the stand as the last speaker on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. If you listen to the speech most would agree there is nothing amazing about its content for the first 11 minutes or so, in fact he begins to wind up...

"...............I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends."

At this point by most accounts King left his scripted speech and incorporated thoughts he had shared previously, prompted by the singer Mahalia Jackson who stood nearby shouting  "Tell them about your dream Martin. Tell them about the dream."  The air then becomes electric and he delivers what has been ranked the top American speech of the 20th century

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day"

I guess everyone will have there own opinions, but for me this is an "Inspired" moment in history.
Is President Obama in this league, I don't know but I think the world hopes he is, hence as an English man I sat and watched his inaugural speech live.
Who ever our leaders are, hoping they get a little divine help and inspiration can only be a good thing as heaven knows they need it !

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


President Obama, or having visited his Irish ancestors should that be O'bama, had a minor problem yesterday.

The Beast, one of his cars, that is bomb and bullet proof with anti blow out Kevlar tyres was foiled by a speed bump in the road !

Watch it again and see the three guys on the right step back in a hurry when the steel under plate grounds with a bang (new underwear please)

Seemed like a big job to get it free, well it would be, it ways 8 tons !

Hopefully he will have a better day today as he is having dinner with the Queen.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Isle Of Man

Last week posted about travelling to the Isle of Man to work in a church building there. Now with a little more time on my hands I thought I would share a a few more pictures of the town of Douglas, which is about all I saw as it was where the ferry port is and also where I stayed and worked.

Above and below is the rather unusually shaped Ferry Terminal the latter is taken from the end of the promenade, with the ferry on the other side.

Turning 90 degrees anticlockwise from the picture above you see...

There is an interesting story behind this little sea view. Its not the result of a sand castle competition. The land bank was a shipping hazard so the structure was built to warn ships and also provide a refuge in the storm for shipwrecked sailors.

St Marys Isle, which is submerged at high tide caused countless shipwrecks. In 1826 Sir William Hillary proposed the building of a refuge on the tiny island to give victims hope and also make the underwater menace more visible. Nothing was done, but following the wreck of the "St George" in November 1839 Sir William tried again, this time getting approval and he managed to raise the £275 required to complete the work, the first stone was laid quite fittingly on St Georges Day 1832.
Sir William is also famous for founding the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI)

Turning a further 90 degrees away from St Marys Isle is the Promenade..

Having a very Victorian holiday feel about it the prom is wide and spacious and still has the old horse drawn trams as a tourist attraction. The first picture shows the 4 lane road but there is also a similar width of pedestrian space between the road and sea wall.

Photobucket Photobucket

If you were wondering about the sea water quality it seemed pretty clear.. but it wasn't warm enough to paddle my toes this early in the year !

Talking of sea, I only had a spare hour to wonder the promenade then it was back on board the SeaCat ferry (so called as it is a very large catamaran or twin hull ship) you get a bit of a feel for her size from this next picture taken from in my driving seat, just after parking up on the car deck.

Then it was a 70 mile sea journey home that took just under two and a half hours with a force 5-6 tail wind. The following video is firstly through the window from my seat on the upper deck, then from outside on the aft deck. It was a bit choppy as you will see

music on the video by  "t.A.T.u" (90's Russian pop duet)

Friday, 20 May 2011

New Trams for Oldham

Remember you saw it here first !! Yes an exclusive of the new trams coming to Ashton-under-Lyne and Oldham. Due to austerity measures the modern electric units have been cancelled and a fleet of these 1 horse power trams have been ordered.

Of course I jest, but my humour is to help me overcome the frustration of being stuck in traffic every time I leave the house and try and travel around this side of Manchester. 
We lost our local train service over a year ago to make way for the new trams that are due to be running in 2011-2014 "ish" As I sat in a single line cue of traffic coming home through Ashton-under-Lyne tonight on what was a twin carriage way road, I realised why it was taking so long... I saw in one mile of cones, 2 men working on the new tram ground works. The poor guys are doing the entire job on their own !!! 
Why when the contract was awarded was there no stipulation on how many people were employed by the contractors ?? 
Don't try digging up every road from here to Manchester, these two chaps will never get that much rail laid !! Why not do one bit at a time ???  
Come on guys, hire another couple and we can have the trams twice as soon !!

The picture by the way, is of the trams on the promenade in Douglas (Isle of Man)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ship ahoy

I don't think I have mentioned before, but I'm not a lover of boats. that's not for any other reason than having bad memories of an overnight ferry from the UK to Jersey (Channel Islands) as a youth on a school trip. It was an horrendous 8 hours, with rough seas and a lesson in why the toilet doors had frames across the bottom in true bulkhead fashion, to stop the puke swilling out when EVERY one on board gets sea sick.

As a consequence I avoid boats at all costs, now this does cause a problem on the holiday front, the UK is a relatively small island and if you want to "go abroad" on vacation you either need a plane or a boat. What makes the problem worse is Mrs RJR doesn't like planes !!! This as you can imagine means a lot of UK holidays.

So why the picture of the boat, well I'm not on UK mainland as I type this, I'm in a Bed and Breakfast on the Isle of Man about 70 miles off the shores of Liverpool, between England and Ireland. The boat is Manannan, the 5000 tonne, 800 passenger, 200 car ferry that I got travelled on to get here. After a two and a half hour crossing, I'm pleased to report that despite the force 5 "breeze" the travel sickness tablets I took worked perfectly.

I spent the day yesterday at a church in Liverpool setting up video conference equipment and have travelled to the Isle of Man to set up the same facilities in the church here. The idea being, to reduce the amount of travelling church members have to make to speak to Priesthood leaders on the mainland.

A couple of Pictures..

I took this first one from the landing dock in Liverpool and is of the Liver building in Liverpool, when I look at it I cant help but see similarities to the Salt Lake Temple

This is the Manannan arriving, it doesn't look very big in this picture, but its 313 feet long.

Just taken this morning, my bedroom has a sea view ( if you stand on a chair and lean out of the window)

Finally, you cant visit the Great British B&B with out thinking of Fawlty Towers...

Your roving reporter, reviewing the isle's of the sea ;)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

That was the week that was..

I think this week will find its place in history for a couple of reasons.

International news was headlined by the shock discovery that although several videos suggested Osama Bin Laden was camping out in mountainous caves, he had actually been secretly living in a villa in Pakistan. The Americans sent in a team of Navy Seals who took him, more Dead than Alive. Since this discovery the Pakistani government have been unsure if they should:
a) Object to being "invaded" by two Black Hawks loaded with special forces, or
b) embarrassed that he was found living almost next door to their military officers training collage.
Meanwhile  the world was left wondering if they were incompetent or complicit.

Interestingly the British Prime minister angered the Pakistan government 9 months ago, by suggesting they "look both ways" on terrorism. In a bid to rebuild relations, on the 5th of April this year, Mr Cameron announced a £650million Aid package to  improve their schools and teaching. I'm not sure if this aid package has a refund provision, now they have been found to be housing the worlds most notorious terrorist ?

The death of Bin Laden has caused a variety of reactions, ranging from scenes of celebrations in front of the Whitehouse to condemnation for the West carrying out an execution without trial. I think I'm somewhere in the middle. A friend posted an interesting thought on Facebook "Remember how during passover, we spilled a drop of grape juice on the plate for every plague on the Egyptians because we take no pleasure even in the suffering of oppressors and murderers." it is true, how we react is what sets us apart form those around us.

On the assassination debate, I have agreed to differ with Jake my 15 year old,  he is of the opinion that all is fair in love and war. In his mind, Bin Laden was a combatant and therefore it was not an execution but an act of war. I struggle with the concept a little because we are "at war with terrorism" only because of a phrase coined by President Bush, in reality are we not trying to apprehend a group of criminals? To further cloud my mind there seems to be different principals applied to different situations. In Northern Ireland, those who once wore the shirt of a terrorist, now wear the suit of a politician? In Libya we can't assassinate Gadafi because that would be regime change, meanwhile we can bomb targets that aid the rebels and that isn't effect the regime of the country ? Perhaps I should apply my sons logic to him ? "Not cleaning your bedroom is an act of war young man, as such all conventions on punishment are suspended"... "Hand over your phone and Playstation for disposal"
Just as an aside, the US Military gave Osama Bin Laden a burial at sea, and as my eldest brother in law pointed out  "Lob da man in sea" is an anagram of his name ! spooky !!

Moving on. In these green and pleasant lands we have had elections for local government this week. We also had a national referendum to decide if we should change our voting system from, most votes wins (first past the post) to an "Alternative Vote" better know in some countries as "instant run off" AV is a more complicated system heralded as creating more coalition governments and favoured by our often 3rd place party, the Liberal Democrats. The result, a resounding NO or a decision to stick with our existing system.
To be honest I don't think the issue is AV, its more about VA, or Voter Apathy. The elections managed little more than a 45% turn out ! We are fighting wars in the east, to usher in democracy, yet at home we don't exercise our democratic right !!

Finally up here in the North West of England, we don't mess about with fancy voting systems. When voting for  the local government seat in the constituency of Bury came to a draw after 3 counts, a much cheaper method was used to determine the outcome. The labour and Conservative candidates drew straws. Well actually straws were in short supply, so a couple of plastic cable ties were stuck in a book, one having been shortened.!!!!


Joanne Columbine of the Labour Party drew the right one and was duly appointed.  I kid you not !!
Cost of the AV referendum £250M .
Cost of traditional elections several millions.
Cost of 2 cable ties less than 10p

Til the next time ............

images .. OBL Telegraph Bury Sky News

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

It's a conspiracy man !

As Mulder and Scully would have us believe "The Truth is out there" but have programs such as the X files and the ever growing information overload that the internet provides spawned a new generation of Conspiracy Theists ?
Now let me point out I have thought long and hard about this post and feel I am sticking my neck out, such is the strength of feeling some folk have !

Let me start by saying although I am currently self employed, previously I have been both an employee and an employer. I always found that in the former there was always a fellow employee who would have us believe the system was out to get us. If we are honest we all know the type. The guy that believes that the boss is out to get him, that everything is a plot against him, or better still against "us".  I think that this inbuilt distrust many feel towards authority is where theories are hatched. Of course the best conspiracies include "us" because then we feel an instant togetherness with the oppressed.

an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.

a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

Conspiracy Theory*
the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.

Lets list some of the famous ones..

JFK was assassinated by the CIA.
The Moon landing was a hoax
The US government has a secret alien facility known as Area 51
Black unmarked helicopters fill the skies
Diana was murdered
Aliens built Pyramids
The twin towers was an inside job
Immunisations are a way of controlling populations not disease
The Illuminati and Masons are seeking world domination
Planes are spraying us with chemicals (chem-trails)

I have been on the internet for a fair few years now (its easy to forget how young it really is), but I have noticed a growing trend for more and more people to "subscribe" to conspiracy theories. They have always been around but they are just so easy to spread with technology. The other interesting thing is because there is such an abundance, it is very hard for search engines to find opposing thoughts. For example 'Google' Chem-trail and see how many pages of results you have to go through to find a site that discounts the theory, of course to a conspiracy theist this proves the theory; "there is no alternate answer". It's a dangerous world of research that excepts that no opposition proves truth.

Let's look at Chem-trails. The conspiracy is that the cloud like vapours air crafts leave behind are actually chemical dumps. Depending on the theory, the chemical is either a government plot to change the weather or to reduce population. Now logic tells you if the later was the case it would kill the government too, but lets overlook that for a minute !
Now I have a bit of experience with the aircraft industry having held security passes for both military and civil aircraft sites to consult on tooling requirements. I can honestly say I have never seen, or come across additional tanks built into any aircraft. I also believe science confirms that the process of burning jet fuel creates condensation or Con-trails, the original and correct term for the phenomena. In fact given the correct levels of atmospheric humidity large amounts of condensation can be formed that dispel very slowly. If there were chemicals lingering in the skies it would be easily possible to fly through them and collect/analyse the content. But no such proof is forthcoming, unless of course this has been done and covered up !! No doubt, this is the argument used.

I don't claim to be an expert but one thing really jumps out: so many of these theories are impossible to dispute. Not because they are true but because their supporters will never except any truth except the version of truth they want. Any answer to the question that does not fit is discarded. This blinkered search for truth is no real search at all and does us all an injustice. The other thing that always troubles me is how hard it would be to organise these plots in secret and keep them secret. If a politician sleeps with someone he shouldn't it's headline news and his /her career is ruined; if its so easy for governments to hide the truth why not hide these "mistakes"?

So by now you may consider me a naive fool. Do I think governments always tell us the truth and and never make mistakes? NO, but logic and a little hope tell me that the contents of the list above are not plots by conspiring men, even if there are a lot of them around. I also think my energy is far better served in areas I can make a difference rather than those I can't. If Neil Armstrong didn't take a giant leap for mankind what difference will my opinion make? I still got a Teflon frying pan out of the deal...

So am I alone in being naive and trusting ?

image source T shirt Clouds          *                       Edited by Jake

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A-Z Overview

Well its been and gone ! April's A-Z blogging challenge, 26 alphabetical blog posts in 30 days. When I took on the challenge I thought it would be a breeze, after all I had made nearly that many in February... What I didn't count on, was how hard it would be to stick to the letters !

Some days were easy. Some where just so hard ! At one point I managed to get 3 days ahead and that gave me some time to look at other blogs on the participants list. To be fair getting round all 1200 plus bloggers was as much of a challenge as doing the writing, but I did it. I have looked at each of them, some I have decided to follow, some were wonderful but the content was not something I would normally read. I started following lots then discovered I had to refine my "following" criteria as there wasn't enough time to read everything ! I have now got about 20+ blogs I read frequently some daily that I found through the challenge.

During the course of the month I have also been fortunate enough to meet quite a few bloggers that have decided to follow me, to whom I offer my grateful thanks, I hope I continue to write something of interest. In fact my followers have doubled.

When I started this blog, I was looking for a way to express a creative side of me, previously I have done this through building scale models, but I have found it just as satisfying to compose a reasonable quality blog post. My hope has been to share feelings, entertain, raise a smile and even cause food for thought. Call me shallow but appearance and layout are also important and I strive to make things easy on the eye. If I have done any of these at least once during the challenge, I will consider myself to have been successful.

Through reading the blog stats I have been surprised at which posts have been popular. When I wrote "C is for conference centre" I presumed its content too religious to be of interest, but it has been one of the most viewed posts. "R for royal wedding" had average visits until a week later, the day of the wedding it had 600 views !

As a consequence of the challenge, I have also come into contact with Mormon Daddy Bloggers and have become a featured blogger there, which has been wonderful.

I have created a new static page to commemorate the A-Z challenge with an overview of the 26 posts made (contents shown below). This will be found at the top of the blog or HERE and will replace the tabbed page that held the linky-list with all the participants, which will still be available for a time HERE

Hover over for title, click to visit...

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Again thanks for reading, following and commenting you have been great !

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