It was not The Gettysburg Address
It was not We Shall Fight Them on The Beaches
It was not I Have A Dream
But those great orations were delivered before I was born. No politician in the Northern Hemisphere has delivered a speech as compelling as what follows in my lifetime. If you can vote in the US, watch and listen. If you cannot vote, pray that America can forget its prejudices and elect a great candidate

Published in: on 30 August, 2008 at 2:00  Comments (3)  

Dressing For an Interview

When I first started working in the US, I kept checking my collar on the way to work; feeling sure that something was wrong. The problem was the lack of tie. After sixteen years of office work in the UK, I associated a tie and suit with going to the office. Eventually, I dropped that habit and it is more comfortable to wear business casual. I have not quite got to wearing floral Hawaiian shirts, as used by several of our senior management.

I realised last week that my acceptance of this culture was just about complete.I know that if anyone had turned up for an interview for a position without a tie and jacket, I would have rejected that candidate without thinking. Now, I only noticed that an impressive candidate had turned up in an informal open collar shirt, when the next day I was faced with an interviewee in a smart jacket and tie. This latter candidate was the exception. Wow, how knarly that is dude?

Published in: on 29 August, 2008 at 7:00  Comments (3)  

The Cost of Gas

In the last few days, I have a couple more signs that indicate that the rising cost of gas has having an impact on the way that Americans think. Driving my wife to the airport I saw a sign advertising a local casino. It stated that it was 15 gallons closer than Reno. Rather than emphasize the shorter travel time, the saving in fuel was the selling point. I also saw an overhead sign that said “Don’t Speed. Save Lives. Save Gas”; obviously the appeal to drivers’ better nature has failed to slow them down, so self interest has been added.

Published in: on 28 August, 2008 at 21:02  Comments (3)  

Another Woman Runs for President

McCain’s campaign launched an attack ad that described Obama as a celebrity and used images of Paris Hilton to reinforce the negative conations of the word.

The response came not from an offended Obama camp, but from Paris herself. (Sorry, that I could not embed it, as the full version is not on Your Tube, so please click below)

Paris Video

Published in: on 26 August, 2008 at 7:28  Comments (4)  

Guilty Pleasures

I have been tagged to list some guilty pleasures by Ammonyte:

1) Abba

2) McDonalds Quarter Pounder and Double Cheeseburger

3) Top Gear

4) You Got Mail

5) The Human League

I suspect lots of Brits would have Abba on their list; the Box Office takings for Mamma Mia seems to reinforce that suspicion

Every now and again I get an odd craving for Mickey D’s burgers; which is especially odd given the range of quality fast food and casual dining options that we have in the area.

I am not your typical “bloke”, but I cannot resist the lure of the fast cars, bizarre challenges, and testosterone that makes  Top Gear such compelling viewing.

It is clearly not cool to have a chick-flick which you feel compelled to watch whenever it comes on TV. In my defense, the movie came out early in the relationship with my wife; who I met via the net. It also has a fascinating subplot about big chain business versus the family owned local shops.

In my defense, it is their pre-split, pre-commercial success albums (Reproduction and Travelogue) that I prefer, but I do not think that The Human League count as cool by any known measure.

Published in: on 25 August, 2008 at 7:00  Comments (6)  

No Goals

The San Jose Earthquakes extended their unbeaten run to six games with a nil-nil draw in LA against Chivas USA (Sounds more like a whisky than a football team). It is typical that after two games with nine goals, I get to watch another goal-less game. The announcers still have not learnt how to pronounce Norwich. They did mention the other local fan who has been posting video reports on Huck’s progress to You-Tube; if they had actually watched the videos they would have learnt the correct name of Darren’s former team.

Published in: on 24 August, 2008 at 11:45  Leave a Comment  

Incorrect Identification

On Saturday we were returning from purchasing a futon and seeing Ilegirl at “The Happiest Place on Earth” when we stopped for a light lunch at Baja Fresh in Concord. Sat on the back of one of the outside chairs was a white pet bird. I pointed it out to my wife and said “Look a cockatrice”. She looked a little confused before observing that it was a cockatoo. As you can see from the pictures below it is easy to confuse this bird with the legendary from Elizabethan literature.





Published in: on 19 August, 2008 at 7:17  Comments (1)  

Lives in the Balance

There is a problem writing a song about the current political situation; the world changes and the song loses its relevance. Unfortunately, in the case of this Jackson Browne song written twenty years ago, the song is just as pertinent today as it was back in the eighties.

Ive been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that youve seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And theres a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the t.v.
You hear one thing again and again
How the u.s.a. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends–
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally cant take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

Theres a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we cant even say the names

They sell us the president the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But theyre never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

Published in: on 16 August, 2008 at 9:19  Comments (2)  

Lament for the Pint of Ale

A Real Pint

A Real Pint

There is another consequence of the small US gallon, one far more significant than its effect on petrol and paint. There are eight pints to a US gallon and hence the US pint is pint is smaller than a pint in the UK. Not only is it hard to get real ale here, it is impossible to get a Real Pint. The bars that are offer me a pint of beer are selling just 80% of a real pint. I think I should start a new organization; CARP (Campaign for Real Pints)

Published in: on 12 August, 2008 at 7:00  Comments (2)  

Cheaper by the Gallon

The US seems to have a problem with the concept of a gallon. In the UK a gallon is 4.546 liters. In the US a gallon is generally held to be just 3.785 liters. However, one DIY store has apparently redefined the gallon to be 3.43 liters. This creative approach to weights and measures could be adopted by petrol stations to offset the rising cost of a gallon at the pumps; an instant 10% reduction in price.

Published in: on 11 August, 2008 at 7:58  Comments (2)