Archive for October, 2012

Retirement Research

One of the luxuries of retirement is the time to do research on those subjects that you find so interesting.  Obviously access to the internet has made this so much easier.  Going to the library and digging through dusty papers to answer a question that is keeping you awake at night just not happening. 

So I have spent hours looking at details of the stern structure of ships that I am modelling or the history of an obscure event.  Love the internet

Today I made a discovery that corrected a conception that I have held for years. 

When I was working for a living and occasionally would come into a meeting that had already started, a meeting that truly needed my brilliance or keen mind to solve the problem (a regular meeting in other words)  I would enter the room with the quote “Let the Bells Ring out and the banners fly, It is too good to be true, but I am here” 

For some reason I seldom got the standing ovation due me, but occasionally some young person would ask where that quote originated.  I always thought that it was Foghorn Leghorn voiced by Mel Blanc in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.

But with the advent of modern internet and the retirement time to engage in deep research, I have determined that I was wrong.  The quote is from the Blue Genie voiced by Jim Backus in the Bugs Bunny cartoon.  You may remember Jim Backus as the Millionaire in Gilligan’s Island (I have probably lost the younger members of my fan club at this point)

In any event I am not too stubborn to acknowledge when I am wrong on important details of history.  (now that is a rare event)

James Bond

One of my favourite series of books that I have read in my lifetime was the James Bond books by Ian Fleming.  I originally read them in my teens and was so enthused that I eventually named our first born son James. 

I have not read any of the Bond books in many years.  I knew that there were authorized versions by other authors to carry on the franchise but was never interested.  Lets face it, aside from the first few movies every movie made since have been full fabrications and I was loyal to the Ian Fleming versions.

Anyway I was browsing at the Library and came across the Jeffery Deaver authorized version of James Bond called Carte Blanche.  I have read a number of books by Deaver, none scoring higher than 3 out of 5 in my scoring system, but I decided to try it.  Big mistake. 

Should have realized from the opening sentence.  “His hand on the dead-man throttle, the driver of the Serbian Rail diesel felt the thrill he always did on this particular stretch of railway heading north from Belgrade”  I mean how pathetic and amateur. 

I have always been a big believer that you  can judge a book by the first line.  Classic one is “It was a dark and stormy night”   Or one of my own creations “The bullet came from nowhere stinging my face with fragments from the brick wall beside me”    Now would you not continue to read that story?

I eventually abandoned Carte Blanche after a dozen pages as it was so trite and poorly written.  Proving my theory that if the first line is corny the rest does not get better.  I then went down to the basement and pulled out one of my vintage Bond books “Thunderball”  Very dated in political correctness with reference to Chinese characters as Chinamen and Bond’s propensity to chastise  Miss Moneypenny that he should give her a good spanking.  Not to mention the 60 unfiltered cigarettes he smoked each day (as every true man should).  But the writing is great.  The story flows and the action is descriptive.

Horsey Dance

You are never too old to learn something new.  Right now I am practicing my new Horsey Dance so I can do it like Psy.  Getting pretty good If I say so myself.  Can’t wait for the next family get together so I can show it off.  Ooop Ooop Gangnam Style

Sarah Brightman

Pat and I have had the wonderful opportunity in the past to experience great musical theatre.  One of the best was Phantom of the Opera written by Anthony Lloyd Webber.  He wrote the female role  for his beautiful wife Sarah Brightman.  Now if you see pictures of Webber at the time he was not good looking.  I would not say ugly but on the bad side of average.  But he was talented and becoming wealthy so he had the chance to get a pretty young songstress for a wife.

Sarah had a good life after that.  A very good voice but not quite that needed to achieve the Opera status she wanted. With the success of Phantom she had a great career.   Once she was making good money she dumped the ugly Webber and moved on. 

Apparently she made massive money from her many albums because she has now put down $50 million to be the next tourist astronaut to the space station.  By coincidence she has a new album out which she hopes to use to cover the cost of this trip. 

I hope all my readers will support her endeavour to discover new worlds by purchasing Dream Chaser.  Or you could just send me the $20 and I am sure I could find a better use.  World peace, or feeding hungry children or more likely spent on bribes for my personal goal of achieving Sainthood. 

Saint Bruce the Benevolent

Miata Trip Oct 2012

We are home from our week long Miata holiday.  It was a wonderful time.  Aside from the last day (more details later) we had sunny weather every day so could spend most of it topless.  (that means with the top down on the car for you prudes) 

The first couple of days were spent driving through the Cascade Mountain roads to arrive at Leavenworth Washington.  Stopping at every vista and view point and lunches in small towns like Winthrop (a western theme town) 

Two days in Leavenworth with our friends (Octoberfest was in full swing) and then south to Astoria in Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River on the Pacific.   The US Northwest is suffering from a record drought.  86 days of sunshine with no rain.  Good for us travelling except it meant lots of forest fires so from Leavenworth to Astoria we were in very smoky conditions.

We spent a couple of nights in Astoria which gave us the chance to explore the history of this town which is actually the oldest US settlement west of the Mississippi.  Older than San Francisco.  Our hotel room was on the ocean and all night we were serenaded by sea lions (Ooyrk, Ooyrk, grunt, Ooyrk).  Sounds restful but thank goodness for ear plugs. 

After a day walking the beaches and visiting museums we were looking for a special restaurant for Monday (Thanksgiving) and found a place on the dock called Baked Alaska.  A seafood restaurant with a reputation for the variety of the dishes and fancy desserts.  Easily the best meal that Pat and I have enjoyed in many months.  Pat had grilled scallops the size of hockey pucks and I had a clam dish with spicy Italian sausage meat.  Delicious.  Even with a bottle of wine the tab came to $50 for the pair of us (granted we did skip the fancy desserts)  Got to love small town America. 

On Tuesday we drove up to Port Angeles on the old 101 highway and stayed over night.  Ocean and mountain views all the way with a picnic on a beach which we only had to share with seagulls. 

This morning we caught the ferry to Victoria.  Overcast and drizzling so the top was up all the way home.  Finally the drought is over for the west coast so all the fires will be gone.  Lasted just long enough for us.