Mitt Romney and Sam Malone, never seen in the same room…

23 09 2012

As a committed insomniac, any chance I get to dream is always welcome but when they recur…not so much.

My dream isn’t as grand as Martin Luther King or as incredible as the one Victoria Principal had in Dallas, but it won’t go away.

It’s star is the Voice of the People, Mittens Romney.

For some reason, Mitt (or Cuddlebucket as he seems to be known over the hours that this vision seems to take place) is staying at my house. For reasons that never become clear, he is lodging in my spare room and – very occasionally – making me a cup of tea. Being Mitt, he is surrounded by an entourage of security people and what look like the grey aliens that occasionally visit the planet.

He doesn’t really do anything, he tells me what to do, we talk about anything apart from politics (he is a big fan of Simon Cowell) and every day we go out for “a decent cup of coffee”…which Mitt believes can only be purchased at Dunkin Donuts. Then it all gets a bit strange.

Whenever we walk into DD, Mitt morphs into Sam Malone. Every single time. Read the rest of this entry »





Near, Far, Wherever You Are…

15 04 2012

One hundred years ago, a supposedly unsinkable ship hit an iceberg on it’s maiden voyage and sank, condemning two-thirds of its passengers and crew to an eternity in the locker of Davy Jones (guardian of watery seamen, not the recently deceased English member of The Monkees).

If anything sums up the fragility of human life and the over-reliance on the latest technology, the RMS Titanic was the original blueprint for a major disaster.

In the hundred years since, there have been many occasions where a large loss of human life is lamented, reviewed and blame apportioned. With the exception of war, which we expect to have a large human fatality rate, when a machine fails…it fails big time but the hand that guides the machine is normally human in origin.

The destruction of the twin towers was orchestrated by men flying machines into them, the recent sinking of the cruise ship in Italy was caused by the captain wanting to wave to his mate on the beach.

The Titanic was the biggest and fastest passenger ship ever built at that time. It would look small in comparison to the mega-liners that now routinely pootle around the globe ferrying their passengers to far-flung destinations while still enjoying a 24-hour buffet accompanied by the inane chatter of the entertainment staff.

But the Titanic was more than just a ship. Read the rest of this entry »





Christopher Columbus: A Cause for “Celebration”.

11 10 2010

In 1492, an Italian explorer (with some financial ties to Spain) was attempting to find his way to Asia. Inspired by the thought of trading with this fabled culture and the desire to convert heathens to Christianity, he had set sail with three ships in the hope of making his way across the ocean without having to navigate around annoying pieces of already discovered land.

The mission was a failure.

Are we there yet? I was looking for Asia!

Instead of the vast open sea that he imagined lay between Spain and Asia, he actually managed to find himself in a situation where he discovered not only land but a population of friendly and trusting natives who, unaware of the fact that they were heathens, were curious about this visitor from afar and approached him with open hearts and minds.

The explorer repaid this trust in the only way he knew how. By enslaving them, pillaging their land for precious metals and shipping them back to the Spanish monarchs who were providing the financial security that was needed to ensure the success of the venture. Read the rest of this entry »





America, A World of Weird; #2. Yankee Seige

1 03 2010

Name : Yankee Seige

Location : Greenfield, New Hampshire, on Route 31.

If the sight of a Routemaster bus in Alabama had knocked me for six, then a huge crane with a spiked wrecking ball actually made me turn the car around to make sure that I wasn’t seeing things.

This entire site comes out of nowhere. One minute you are driving happily along, marvelling at the beauty of nature and remarking that you haven’t seen another car for a while when suddenly you turn a corner and there is this.

A field full of rusty old iron, some gates (with no fence), a mini Stonehenge and in the distance a castle stands atop a small mound. Read the rest of this entry »





America, A World of Weird ; #1. The Routemaster Bus

16 02 2010

Since arriving on these shores back in July of last year, I have tried my hardest to assimilate into my new life in Boston.

I have been to an NFL match, drunk copious amounts of Sam Adams, read the Boston Globe from cover to cover and have even toured Fenway Park (out of season and in the presence of a small, annoying child dressed in a Yankees outfit – he was last seen being tossed over the Green Monster.)

New England Clam Chowder is my soup of choice, I get annoyed by the T system and I have been to Harvard many times to drink in the air of intelligentsia whilst eating Tex-Mex.

But I have also been out on the road. 16,000 miles of it (give or take a few). As far down as West Palm Beach (FL) , as far across as Chicago (IL).

We have even been to Hell and Paradise in the same state – Michigan.

And it is the world away from the Interstate that is fascinating because you never know what you will find.

So this is the first in a series of random bits of weird that I have found whilst being on the road.

This is a Routemaster Bus. Read the rest of this entry »





International Travel Requires International Adjustment

6 01 2010

I have had a passport since 1971, and have managed at least one foreign trip every year (irrespective of where I was living).

Which also means that I am fully aware of jet-lag.

Or as it is medically known, “desynchronosis”  a physiological condition which is a consequence of alterations to circadian rhythms which results from rapid long-distance transmeridian (east-west or west-east) travel, as on a jet plane

The ease of being able to visit the majority of the countries in the world just by jumping on a plane is one of the things I have been fortunate to do in my life.

I have stood in the Coliseum of Rome, sky-dived over Queenstown in New Zealand, watched the sunset over Uluru (Australia), taken a helicopter trip into the Grand Canyon and discussed the fall of the Soviet Union in a bar in Moldova with a girl who may not have been interested in my company but rather the contents of my wallet.

I even flew Business Class once. Read the rest of this entry »





I Report, You Decide – Justice, Golfers, Wolves and The Road

7 12 2009

Driving on the interstate in the USA gives you time to ponder the real questions of life.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is a major piece of engineering but it is the driving equivalent of shopping at IKEA.

Useful if you need something specific, worthwhile if you don’t have the time to waste in searching for alternatives but boring, draining and ultimately without any real soul.

With the exception of IS-26 in North Carolina from Mars Hill to Johnson City – which is a lovely, scenic drive.

However, it is easy for the mind to wander when you are pootling through the states, miles being eaten up beneath your wheels. And that is when you can do some deep thinking whilst trying hard not to be overtaken by elderly drivers in Florida, or being undertaken by yet another Wal-Mart lorry anywhere on the highway.

Questions filter in, distracting the mind from the delicious aroma of roadkill ;

  • Where is everyone going?
  •  Where they have been?
  •  Will they ever get there if they continue to weave in and out of traffic like a drunk leaving a bar at closing time?
  •  Why do so many “drivers” actually have no idea how to drive?
  •  Would anyone really decide to get a vasectomy after spotting a roadside advert?

Of course, it also gives you the time to consider what has been going on in the world.

And for some the last week has been one that they may wish to forget.

Tiger Woods, Amanda Knox and the scientists at East Anglia University may wish that all they had been doing was sitting in a car and watching the scenery flash by. Read the rest of this entry »