Classic Cars

The California climate is dry and thus is kind to the metal bodies of old cars. It is far more common to see old cars in great condition and in regular use here than back in the UK. We came across a beautifully restored 1956 Bel Air whilst out for a stroll in Benicia last weekend. The paint job is apparently not original factory colours.

BelAir

Published in: on 30 November, 2009 at 7:33  Comments (2)  

Thanksgiving

I am drinking coffee on Monday morning as I get ready to go back to work after a long weekend. The fourth Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day in the US. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on a different date and to the surprise of many Americans other countries skip the celebration altogether.

The following brief history of the holiday comes from the National Archives:

Washington, DC…On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as an official holiday of "sincere and humble thanks." The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution. On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln made the traditional Thanksgiving celebration a nationwide holiday to be commemorated each year on the fourth Thursday of November. In the midst of a bloody Civil War, President Lincoln issued a Presidential Proclamation in which he enumerated the blessings of the American people and called upon his countrymen to "set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of "Thanksgiving."

In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November to lengthen the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy still recovering from the Depression. This move, which set off a national debate, was reversed in 1941 when Congress passed and President Roosevelt approved a joint house resolution establishing, by law, the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

Thus the holiday is directly linked to the three men oft considered as the country’s best presidents.

With Thanksgiving falling in a Thursday, many companies give their employees Friday as a holiday, hence the four day weekend.

Thanks to the American Presidents’ Blog for the link

Published in: on 30 November, 2009 at 7:22  Leave a Comment  

More Christmas

Having decorated our tree on Friday, we realised that we had used but half of our ornaments. Today we bought two more small trees for the upstairs space where the TV resides. This evening I hung ornaments and my wife re-arranged them. We have three trees in the house and still have a box of unused ornaments – I think I can see where that will end.

Published in: on 28 November, 2009 at 23:16  Leave a Comment  

Norwich City

For the first time since being thumped by Chelsea in the FA Cup, I can watch a live Norwich City game. The Canaries second round game is being streamed live on the FA website. As I write this, the game is at half-time and the score is tied at 1-1. I am wearing my Norwich shirt and scarf; ready for the second half to begin.

The second half starts badly, Carlisle score in the first minute.

Then on 73 minutes, a third goal. I do not recall the last time that I saw a live Norwich win.

Out of the Cup, outplayed, and a long wait before there is any chance of seeing Norwich again.

Published in: on 28 November, 2009 at 11:09  Leave a Comment  

Chrisrnas Tree

In keeping with American tradition we put our Christmas tree up today. Decorations go up after Thanksgiving and with the weather turning wintry it seems ideal.

Not finished yet, but a shot of the work in progress

Published in: on 27 November, 2009 at 18:42  Comments (1)  

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Queen song as you have never seen it (or heard it) before.

Published in: on 26 November, 2009 at 12:12  Leave a Comment  

Tips on Resume Creation

If you want to make a positive impression with your resume or cv I advise against starting the document with a quote from a Nazi party member and SS Officer. I know that the US is thought to be politically to the right of Europe, but I am pretty sure that associating yourself with an is not the best way to get a job. Bearing that in mind I was shocked to see a resume today with a quote from SS-Sturmbannführer Wernher von Braun

The reason for this politically insensitive act is that the man in question is looked upon in a better light here in the US than in the UK. Back in the UK Werner von Braun is remembered as the man who was responsible for using slave labour to construct rockets that were used to kill British civilians. Here in the US he is seen as a key player in the success of the NASA Space Program.

In 1960 he appeared in a television documentary called “I aim at the Stars”. It has been suggested that the subtitle of this piece should have been “But sometimes I hit London”

Then to illustrate that is not just being British that makes me wary of this man here is the Tom Lehrer song

Published in: on 23 November, 2009 at 22:06  Leave a Comment  

Commercialization of Christmas

I saw this sign in the aisle of a local store yesterday.

001

The purpose of these signs should be to tell customers what items are on the marked shelves. This one seems less than useful, for I had no idea what Licensed Holiday meant. Are Licensed Holidays those that we actually get away from work as distinct from those like Columbus Day which are regular office days?

Looking at the shelves provided an explanation. They were stocked with Santa hats and Christmas stockings emblazoned with the logos of sporting teams – for nothing says peace on earth and goodwill to all men as effectively as American football.

Published in: on 22 November, 2009 at 18:31  Leave a Comment  

Innovation on TV

I have just started watching the “new” ABC show “V”; based on the not very good mid-eighties show of the same title. AMC are broadcasting a six episode mini-series remake of The Prisoner; the excellent British show from the Sixties. I have the DVR set to record the repeats, as I missed the first episode last weekend. The episode titles echo those of the original show, but I wonder how well it will capture the atmosphere that was at the core of the 1967 version.

prisoner-eps-1 

This lack of originality is not even original. Recent years have seen the very sucessful remake of Battlestar Galactica, the gold standard for remakes as it is head and shoulders above the original. There was also last year’s enjoyable but ultimately disappointing remake of the UK show “Life on Mars”

C6

Published in: on 20 November, 2009 at 7:35  Leave a Comment  

Insultingly Bad Movie

The first Blu-ray disc that we had from Netflix was the truly terrible Transformers:Rise of the Fallen. A movie without character or plot; endless hours of robots hitting robots is no substitute for real film making. On our new Blu-ray player and our 65” screen it looked gorgeous, but a stinking pile of poo in high-def smells just as bad.

Not only was the film an insult to our intelligence, it was an insult to my country of origin with several shots of the Union (British) flag all showing the flag hanging upside down. They spent $200m and did not even bother to conduct some basic research into the correct way to fly the flag.

No article about Transformers would be complete without a picture of Megan Fox

megan-fox

Published in: on 18 November, 2009 at 7:18  Comments (1)