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Sunday, 16 December 2007

U.S. Talk Radio has gone down hill

I got a new pda. I would have loved to get an iphone, but the price is restrictive. So I got a palm tx. It works great. It has wifi, which I wanted and as an added feature the kinoma player can recieve internet radio station. After browsing the radio stations I found some of my old favourite talk radio stations from Los Angeles. KABC and KFI.

I used to listen to those stations about 10 years ago, when I lived in L.A. The hosts were always interesting and intelligent. There were politico's both left and right, but the hosts seemed to present intelligent arguments for thier side. Many of the hosts really did present both sides of the argument.

Wow, things have changed. I tuned into KFI and the program was about immagrants speaking English. The host was complaining that immigrants from mexico and other places that lived in the U.S. should speak ENGLISH. He kept saying this over and over. He cited references to Teddy Rosevelt, irish, german immigrants etc. It's one thing to ask people to speak english, but you don't have to mock them. Wasn't Texas and parts of California taken from Mexico in the first place? After the 50th "WE SPEAK ENGLISH HERE" I had to turn it off. I'ved lived in England for 10 years mate and you don't actually speak ENLISH.

So I switched over to my other favourite, KABC. They had a republican hard nose on. Now in my day the republican talk radio spokesoman was Rush Limbaugh. I listened to him a few times, he toed the party line, was funny sometimes and that was that. I could not believe my ears, the talk radio was mean spirited conservative talk. Very mean about liberals, telling everyone that if you vote for hilary you'll die waiting for health care like they all die wating in Canada. This host went on and on , very very negative about anything not neo conservative.

Again, living in England for the past 10 years i can tell you the NHS is not perfect, but I don't have to wait to see a doctor. I don't have to wait for emergency care. The americans like to put forward this idea that if they vote for national health, you'll wait 3 months to get help after a car accident. I happen to like the NHS.

After listening to both shows and getting completely fed up a strange thought entered my head. Maybe Fox News really is fair and balanced. Bill O'Rielly is a pussycat compared to the people I heard.

Friday, 9 November 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly hotels

OH MY HEAVENS!!! I stayed in the worst hotel room I have ever stayed in. And I have stayed in some pretty bad rooms.

We were travelling and stayed in a horrible, dirty, awful, smelly room. It did not need an upgrade it needs an exorcism. I could not sleep very well on the first night because of the strange smell of the room. Ok it was a smoking room, but I think I know what a morgue smells like now. Thats how bad it was. I think the rooms are "sick". I did not feel well at all, and I was in a terrible mood when I woke up, so it must be haunted. And the smell started permeating not just our clothes we were wearing, but the clothes packed at the bottom of our suitcase.

Our second night was worst than the first. How could that be your ask? Let me tell you. Beside the general malaise of the atmosphere, we were greeted on the stairs by teenagers in their underwear. Fabulous. I don't mind teenagers, I was once one myself, back in the 19th century. I went to bed and was rudely woken up past midnight by loud knocking and slamming doors,
and this went on all night. The management did nothing, at all.

The only experience I've had worse than that was the time I booked a room in Mexico next to a roller disco. The room was lovely, the sound from the roller disco was hellish.

We have stayed in some dodgey rooms. Once when we lived in Walsall, my wife, daughter and step son went to London to visit an old workmate of mine. We booked a room on the net, it looked ok. You should never judge a book by it's cover. We should have realized this was not a great place because it was near Kings Cross. The front of the place looked nice. It's when they took us to our room that things went wrong. They took us down a number a flight of stairs into the dungeon. Back in the corner they showed us our room, oh dear. It had a basement window, with a nice view of peoples ankles. We dare not open the wardrobe because the doors were the only thing holding it together. The bathroom was essentially a very small cupboard in the corner of the room that made noise all night. The sheets were dirty.

The worst part was I went out to get some food, McDonald's. It was just past midnight and we were given a key to our room and the front door so I thought no problems. When I got back the font door was locked, bolted and chained. My wife could not open it form the inside, so I started banging on the door to wake someone to let me in. After half an hour, the manager, a crazy woman in her night dress was yelling insanely about why was I out so late, it was half past midnight. She was crazy, I was afraid. My wife convinced her to let us in and and then she laid into me. She was telling me off for staying out too late, for trying to get back in to get to my room, and all sorts of crazy stuff. She still haunts my nightmares.

Be araid, be very afraid!

Monday, 22 October 2007

BBC Cuts

Oh for goodness sake. I think the labour government must hate the BBC. I think it goes back to the sexed up intelligence report by the BBC. What are we gonna do. The BBC is an important channel in the world today. I hope it stays that way. It sure aint perfect hey it's what we got. Yes there is influence over the BBC and what it broadcasts. However, BBC is not part of any corporate entity. That fact in itself makes the BBC a powerful force in news. I am not saying news owned by major corporations is tainted. But the possibility exists of undo influence from parent companies stopping stories. At least the BBC has been free to report, to make mistakes, except now the government just cut their funds.

And people are complaining about Jonathon Ross's salary. He has a fabulous chat show on Friday nights on the BBC. Ok, so he makes a lot of money. I pay my license fee he makes me laugh. Thats a good deal. So with a 2 billion pound shortfall what is going to be cut from the beeb. I can tell you what won't be cut, soap operas.

I have a solution. One of the best shows the BBC produces is Top Gear. I love that show. They do a great series plus amazing specials. I think Clarkson and company are going to have to start using product placement. Can you imagine the Stig test driving a fast car while drinking Coca Cola, and saying "refreshing anytime." (Coke send me a check.. look product placement in my own blog.

Oh wait a minute. If the Government is cutting 2 Billion from the BBC, will I get a rebate on my tv license?

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Rule Brittania

I have been living in the UK for almost 10 years. It's funny because at work some of my friends talk openly about the immigration issues the UK is facing. When I said I was an immigrant, one said, no your not, you just returned from the colonies. Even though my accent stubbornly stays American I have been accepted by the majority of the people I have met.

I have lived in the South East, Midlands and Scotland. In the U.K. there is a vast difference between people from the South, North, North East, North West, Midlands, Yorkshire etc. The accents are different, personal views, culture etc change from area to area. In some places the idea of driving farther than a few roundabouts is not worth the trouble. In others, commuting from Nottingham to London is common. If your an American wondering what it's like to live in the UK I suggest you read Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island. My wife bought it for me when i first came over and it proved a great read and invaluable.

I have only had trouble with 2 people since I moved here. And thats a heck of a lot less than in America. There is a troubled gentleman I see on the bus. He is convinced I am best friends with George Bush, work for the CIA and could get him a job in the states. Occasionally he gets a bit aggressive about needing a job in the states. Luckily, I moved so I see him less and less. The other person was harassing me in a pub, when I was trying to get drunk btw, for being an American. It's hard to argue about where your from, I suppose I should have told him I was Canadian.

Friday, 22 June 2007

I didn't move to Britain to have the word F Word bleeped

What is happening to the lovely country I moved to. I am watching Jonathon Ross interview Iggy Pop and the BBC is bleeping Iggy Pop saying Fuck. Whats with that?

When I first started watching tv in Britian I liked the fact that you heard people swear. It's real. I swear, so why not hear it on tv. It was funny to watch various U.S. actors and such, who came on Graham Norton and other shows, and were in total shock when people swore on the show and no one took took any notice. It seemed to be liberating for some of them.

What the fuck are we supposed to do? There seems to be a lot of political correctness creeping into the society here. Or has it fallen on us full tilt like the sky? When I first moved here I experienced a culture that was very free thinking. I believe those people still exist, but they need to have a voice. One of my latest shocks was hearing that they were going to ban an advertisement phrase "Go to work on an Egg". It's a very old advert that was going to be run again but it was deemed wrong becuase the phrase does not represent a balanced diet. Bloody hell.

They want to charge the parents of overweight children as abusive. Does that mean that Coke will be outlawed. What about crisps? What about Pizza? Are any of these things that are less healthy to go to work on than an egg be banned? How far will the political correct police go?

I mentioned to my Wife I thought the society here in Britain has changed. She told me the World has gone down hill in the last 10 years. She asked me if I ever thought the U.S. would ever hold people in Guantanamo Bay. If anything I thought that the U.S. would have proudly upheld the Geneva Convention in it's treament of prisoners of war or even enemy combatants.

We have to feel guilty about driving to work, eating eggs, being overweight (like me), and whatever bugger else they come up with. But now they are bleeping the word fuck on BBC.

Maybe it won't solve all the probelms of the world, but let people swear on TV. It's a small concession to free speech. And who knows, with a bit more swearing in public maybe we can tell the politically correct mob to FUCK OFF!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Social Networking

Social Networking. Well what else is an urban hermit do to?

Well I can keep in touch with people in other rooms of my house, is that good? And yes I can I can have a place for family and friends. Which is good.

I suppose the whole idea of social networking goes back to ICQ in the late 90's. When i entered the world of chat (which is so last century, btw) ICQ was the coolest way to realy socailly network and find out if friends were online. It was so social of a network then I met my wife via ICQ, Chat and Email. Net life seemed so innocent back then. Although my wifes friends thought I was an axe murderer when I was going to meet her in person. I remember back when yahoo chat was full of interesting peoplem and you could have an intelligent conversation or debate with someone. It was a lot of fun, and I met my wife (writing this 10 years later and still married).

ICQ and chat were great, that was great until the cyber stalkers /crazies came along. These were people who you thought were cool until you found out they were really insane (or axe murderers) or they sent you a picture that was weird or of them 20 years ago or worse. And then everyone logged into ICQ in invisible mode. Even then you had messages come to you cause the stalkers KNEW you were there.

Well, what can i say. I am still fond of ICQ though I dont use it anymore. Now we have windows live messenger etc. Myspace, Yahoo messenger and yahoo chat but no private rooms (where the interesting people were). But now the net is dangerous. The cyber stalkers were wacky, but not dangerous like today. I suppose the democratazation of the net means everyone can have a computer and the network, and that is good. I guess.

I still like to think about the days when ICQ was it. Though I like Windows Messenger and Yahoo messenger etc. Myspace is becoming old news. What is a cyber junkie to do.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

The Couch, not the couch!

I am 54. I have 1 grown child, and married into a family with 5 children. Now when kids grow up they are supposed to leave the nest have grandkids and as grandparents we should get to visit or we get visited. Not in my case. It's like the Stephen King film Sometimes They Come Back. And do they come back with a vengence.

My daughter lived away, got married and had a child. I used to visit, and life was good.

Well that was until she decided it was a good idea to come home, with the baby. My wifes daughter also came home with a daughter. The idea of visiiting the grand kids went out the door. They LIVED with us. Now I love the grandkids, but I am not of an age or of any sort of mood to raise kids again. So the grandkids think I am a bit grumpy from having lived with me.
Man was I grumpy.

After some more shuffling of relationships we had living with us in a small 2 bedroom house, Me, My lovely wife, my daughter, my daughters husband, my daughters daughter, my wifes daughter, her fiance and her daughter. This went on for far too long. And my wife and I spent most of our time in the bedroom because the house was overrun. Oh yea, my daughter brought her dog and cat too.

Just previous to the the onslaught I bought a new couch. What a mistake. I didn't realize I would have young children pissing, shitting, vomiting and whatever other noxious effluent they could think of depositing upon my lovely new dfs couch. The dog and cat were the only things not crapping on my couch.

I loved that couch, it was big, soft and very very comfortable to sit and sleep on. I envisioned my days off lounging on the couch watching tv. But that dream was shattered when I put my head down one day and smelled something awful.

Since that experience we moved into a very small 1 bedroom flat. It's comfortable for people to visit for about 2 days max. Then they look forward to going home.

There is this joke about a jewish man at a restaurant. He says to the waiter, taste my soup. The waiter asks, is it cold, whats wrong, is there a fly in it etc. But the man just says taste the soup. After a while the waiter comes over to taste the soup and asks where the spoon is, the jewish man exclaims AHA!!!!!

Well I want to have a few AHA's in my day. Some day when i am old and incontinent, i plan to visit everyone and SIT on thier furniture, when they complain that I piddled or worse I am just going to say AHA! Will they get it? Who cares. And wait to see the dog I will bring with me, he will be old and incontinent too, double AHA!

So if you see an old man and an old dog driving by your neighborhood practising his AHA's look out.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Diets, What are they good for

I have dieted on and off for a lot of my life. Extreme low calorie diets, weight watchers, all protein, all carbohydrates, etc etc. You name a diet and I have been on it. I was heavy when I was young. The extra weight and needing to diet sets up a whole lifelong issue with self esteem, but back to diets.

The first diet I did was to restrict my calorie intake to 800 calories a day. I lost 70lbs in 9 months. I went from heavy to skinny. With me there is no in between. Even when I was boxing, running 5 miles a day and working out 2 hours at night, I was a bit heavy. Strong, fast and heavy. But whenever I dieted I just went to skinny. Whats with that?

Back to the 70lbs I lost. I did this diet at about 17. I kept the weight off for a few years. My weight normalized to about 150 for a few years then started creeping back.

Then for awhile I was a vegetarian. I was still heavy. I had a friend who fasted a lot and suggested that I fast to lose weight. Ok so why not. I would go on 5 day fasts, and some weight would come off. But then back to my vegetarian diet and even with a moderate level of activity I was heavy.

My weight crept up to about 190 and I decided to join the weight watchers cult. Has anyone been to weight watchers? Whats with those meetings? Ok so weight watchers works. You measure your food, and you lose weight. But the group weigh ins are a nightmare. I lost the first 20lbs quickly and was so happy at the weigh ins. Then my weight just stuck. I was faithfully following the diet, but my body decided that even with my measured food intake, it was not dropping any weight. This was was due to my previous dieting and the famine response (more on this later). So with my body refusing to drop more weight I got funny looks at the group weigh ins. The "leader" was sure I was breaking my diet". So what do do. Buy light shoes, that's good for a few pounds and 1 meeting. Then another weight plateau for a few weeks. Then careful use of laxatives and diuretics previous to meetings brought about another loss of few pounds, but my body is very resilient and caught on to my tricks and refused to drop any more weight. It's so frustrating to be on the diet, not lose enough weight, people think your pigging out, so you do. If I aint losing more weight then I might as well eat what I want.

If I had been happy with a 20lbs weight loss I might have learned to maintain it without undue pressure I might have just gone on eating thingnormally.

Well frustration sure makes you want to eat, especially frustration with diets.

I have dieted so much now that I can go without very much and maintain my weight. I have massive famine response rebound lasting years. Diets have also messed up my immune response. I was never allergic to anything. Then Bang! shellfish put me in the hospital, then Bang! penicillin put me in the hospital. What else is going to send me to the hospital. I love shrimp and lobster. I suppose I can do without penicillin.

I am tempted to go on a diet now. I am 54 and heavy. My body is too savvy to let me lose any weight even if I starve it. I also have a bad back, so most exercise is painful. I guess swimming is the future exercise.

I am frustrated just thinking of dieting. Quick I need a cheeseburger and a pint of Ben and Jerry's. If I had never dieted I would never had the famine rebound and would probably not be as heavy as I am now. I could at least still eat shellfish.

Lets get back to the self esteem issues I mentioned at the beginning. I suppose that's the real problem. Even when I was thin I thought I was fat, so that set up more frustration. I am happily married, my wife thinks I'm a sexy old fart. So never mind the diets. Forget the frustration. I think this time I will be happy with where I am. Get a bit more active and let all those fad diet authors go on their merry way (straight to hell). But I do miss shellfish.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Stepping across the pond

I am an immigrant. Who would have thought this was possible. Had you told me even 1 year before I left the states for the UK I would not have believed them. But here I am almost 9 years later living away from my native country.

Someone said that moving is one of the most stressfull events you will experience, just next to death. Try immigrating.

Now I love the UK. I did almost the moment I landed here. However, if you visit you might notice that the English speak fast. My head was spinning trying to understand the accent and the speed at which people talked. My wife said she purposely spoke slower so I would understand what she was saying. I just wonder how dumb I might have looked, while being spoken to in a slow manner. But now armed with speedy talk myself, and knowing more of the nuances of the language I can keep up with everyone here in conversation. Now my friends in the states tell me to slow down. Boy do they sound dumb.

One of the other issues with immigrating is the exchange rate, credit etc etc. When I moved to England the exchange rate was 2 to 1, so for every 2 dollars I brought, I got 1 pound sterling. That was tough. Now with my luck if i want to go back to the states, we'll have switched to the euro or the pound will go way down and I will get screwed coming and going.

Omens to look for. If the housing boom is about to crash, just ask me if I recently bought a house, it will crash. If you want to know which currency is going to go through the roof, ask me, cause I just moved there.

I blog therefore I am

Well I suppose it's time to start blogging. (sit and think for a few hours....) Since I spend a lot of time on a computer, do I really have time for any kind of life. When did I have a life?

Before moving to the UK I lived and worked in the States. Now talk about no life at all in the States. Working in the states, if I wanted to take time off, I had to look over my shoulder at the people waiting to take over my job, or downsize me or something. The thinking in most places I worked was, if he has time to take a vacation (holiday in the uk) then he is just not busy, essential, needed, enough. So in the states we had personal days, which I used for long weekends, that way i could keep an eye on my desk and at least appear essential. When I left my last job in the states, I had almost a month of vacation days which I never took. Well at least they paid me for the vacation time I didn't take.

I have been in the UK for awhile now and it didn't take long to learn to love Holiday time. Although I still tend to be a workaholic, I will take time off, and relax while taking time off. Who knows whats next?