This One Goes To Eleven…

5 04 2012

There are music legends and there are legends in music.

They are different. But like a bacon sandwich without HP sauce, one can’t exist without the other. Apart, they are just two distinct flavors but together….they rock!

Today, the music world said goodbye to a man whose influence went beyond creating radio-friendly-unit-shifters or providing the lyrics for American Idol contestants.

You would never see Jim Marshall throwing shapes in an arena or destroying a guitar but if the world is stage, his name appeared all over it.

Jim was a sound businessman, he made everything louder. Fifty years ago in London, he founded a company called Marshall Amplification…you may have heard some of his products. You certainly will have seen them. Read the rest of this entry »

May The Force Be With You; Star Wars Rebooted

10 02 2012

In 1977, a small boy sat in a darkened cinema in London’s West End and fell in love.

The object of his affection wasn’t a punk rock star, a female superhero or even a muppet that appeared to be a pig but a man dressed in black that seemed to have some kind of breathing problem (probably asthma, the small boy thought) and who was able to crush the necks of people who annoyed him by just squeezing his fingers.

From the moment that Darth Vader walked through some destroyed doors, picked up a “rebel” by the neck, politely asked him for the location of some missing files and then threw him against a wall…the small boy was hooked. Terrified, confused and about to experience a series of unexplained nightmares that involved heavy breathing…but hooked.

We all know what happened next.

Star Wars; A New Hope (the first film, despite being apparently #4 in a series) was a worldwide hit, one of the first blockbusters. Read the rest of this entry »

Brief Encounter Versus The Terminator

24 01 2012

On Saturday morning, I put my sturdy boots on and tramped my way through what I believed would be the inevitable scenery in my little part of Massachusetts for the foreseeable future.

Weeks of walking through snow, having to don footwear that was practical as opposed to comfortable. The threat of one of the local youths thinking it would be fun to throw a snowball at my head and the slowing down of my driving style to cope with snow-induced drift.

I had been forced to leave the warmth of my house for two reasons.

Firstly, I needed to talk to my local mechanic about the inability of the car to start in the freezing weather. I anticipated that his answer would be that it was probably the starter motor. Which would be helpful.

Secondly, the sound of small children throwing themselves down an incline outside my window had got really annoying. It doesn’t matter how many times they flew down the slope in an inflatable tyre, the constant squealing was enough to drive me out of the house and into the snow.

This was what greeted me in our “downtown” area. I wasn’t a happy bunny.

I don’t like snow. Period.

Yesterday (Monday), I picked my wife up from Boston airport and we drove back to our New England town. As we passed banks of shovelled slush, she asked me if Cohasset – where we live – was slightly more “snowy”. I replied in the grim affirmative. She likes snow, as does our dog who had been cavorting in the three inches of white powder that covered our garden (more a patch of untended grass, but you get the picture).

Which is why today – Tuesday – the joy that I felt when I went down to make the first cup of coffee of the day, glanced out of the window and saw that all the snow had melted was only dampened by the realization that, like The Terminator, it would be back.

The sun may be shining, I can see the grass on the incline next door but I am not naive enough to believe that we have seen the last of  Winter. Climate change may be playing a factor, but there will be more days when snow will cover the streets and children will get the time off from school.

In the same way that I know that we haven’t seen the last of Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann, I know that the snow will return.

As will the children and their inflatable rubber ring. But this time I will be ready. On both counts.

Until then, I will enjoy my coffee in the sun.

No Guarantee Of Quality With XXX

5 01 2012

One of the awesome things about the Internet is the continual flood of temptations that pop up in your Inbox on a regular basis.

I have lost count of the amount of useless crap that I have been offered or even stuff that I might be interested in. Filtering takes time and I don’t have the inclination to click on every message that offers me concert tickets for bands I don’t like or for books that I will never read.

There should be some sort of central place that tells insurance companies that you already have cover – or at the very least list the renewal date of the policy so that nearer expiry I am more likely to want to investigate the lack of cover that they can offer me.

Same goes for retail establishments that I bought something from…once. If I haven’t come back to your site since, then your product was probably rubbish or I don’t need another one. Stop asking me if I want to buy another kayak or telling me about your attempts to clear your shelves of stuff that didn’t sell. If I want something, I will come to you…that is how retail used to work.

But this week I have been inundated with offers to buy my own XXX domain name.

Apparently, for only $130 I can protect myself against some adult performer buying and using it to distribute pornographic material on the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Friday; No Cause For Celebration

25 11 2011

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America.

Families sitting down together over plates of turkey, mashed potato, stuffing and gravy.

Probably washed down with either a beer with the word ‘lite’ affixed or by a glass of an unheralded Californian chardonnay. Then they watched the American Football.

Together, in silence and giving thanks that this only happens once a year. The Tradition of Thanksgiving, not the Football.

Just like the pilgrims did when they realized that they were quite hungry and hadn’t brought anything to the dinner table. Until the indigenous locals decided that they would give the uninvited newcomers another chance.

And if yesterday was Thanksgiving, then today must be Black Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

Fool Me Once…

21 10 2011

This time I was ready.

I have spent the last month not doing anything else apart from making sure that I was fully prepared. Which meant of course that I have neglected certain non-essential functions. Mainly this blog, but there have been other casualties of my desire to not get distracted and to ensure that come the glorious day, I would not have to hide under the table but could walk forward into the light with a smile on my face.

I didn’t even have time to mourn the death of Steve Jobs and the end of Sarah Palin as a meaningful political figure. And believe me, I wanted to.

Rejoice, Brothers and Sisters (and those of undetermined sexuality who feel that Dancing With The Stars is the best medium for your message). The Day has Come.

Rapture 2; The Return of Camping. Read the rest of this entry »

The Final Frontier – STS 135 marks the end of an era.

8 07 2011

At 11.29 am Eastern Standard Time, Space Transportation System Atlantis lifted off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral and headed for the inky blackness of space.

The final flight of the Space Shuttle, the last chance to watch one of humanity’s greatest achievements muscle its way into the sky and power towards a place in history.

Thirty years of making space exploration seem like the most normal thing on earth, thirty years of watching a familiar shape ascend and then return, gliding back down as if doing nothing more than fly from Boston to New York.

STS 135 is the final mission, the one that signifies a new direction for NASA and their dreams of conquering space beyond low-level orbit and the Moon. Read the rest of this entry »