Saturday, 30 September 2006

Hurricane Isaac

Readers in Canada or with contacts in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland should point them to the bulletins of the NHC or the Canadian Hurricane service. Hurricane Isaac could brush past these areas on Monday or Tuesday as a strong low pressure system with very strong winds.

John and Krissy

Unfortunately, John (Krissy's other half) has had to be hospitalised again. He had acquired two infections, with his immune system severely impaired. Krissy (Sometimes I think) is with him at Hershey, and as on the previous occasion only has limited time on-line. She will not be monitoring her journal at this time.

Anyone with a message for John and Krissy should email Tammy (memes121@aol.com) to include it in the John & Krissy J-land Gazette. You can also include a link to an entry, a graphic or just good wishes - anything welcome.

Bullying

I read on another blog that a show Ugly Betty is being screened in the States. I gather it ridicules an ugly or fat girl? Correct me if I'm wrong. I commented on the blog concerned, and will expand a bit in this entry.

I feel very strongly that bullying of any sort is not acceptable. In my neck of the woods, one teenage girl took her own life, after bullies made her life hell. Complaints to the school did not work, no or insufficient action was taken. In another incident here, a teenage girl was subjected to such severe bullying that her mother placed her in a school several hundred miles away. Again, the school did not take action, and was not prepared to cooperate in the parents' wishes to remedy the situation by placing the girl in a school 40 miles away.

Tolerance is something that is very important for people of all ages to observe. We are all different, we are all unique. If someone is perceived to be fat, ugly, red-haired, squint-eyed or whatever they stand liable to be abused. If the person concerned finds it impossible to stand up to the bullies, others should step in to address the situation.

Please do not forget that bullying does not stop when you become an adult. The BBC website has some useful information, check out this page. Bullying in the workplace, both physical and emotional, can have very serious consequences too.

True story from the railways

This is a true story from the West Highland Line in Scotland. Its 150 miles wind through the most spectacular scenery in the whole of the UK. Its highest point is reached at Corrour Station, a lonely outpost that I blogged about before. The stretch from Rannoch Station, 9 miles to the south, even sports the UK's only snowshed.

One day, a train had just made the long haul up to the 1350 feet above sealevel at Corrour and jolted to a stop in the station. This jolt unhitched the couplings for the guard's van which broke loose, and proceeded to roll down the incline. In the guard's van was, precisely, the guard. Asleep. Gathering speed, the lone wagon rattled down the hill to Rannoch. The station master there had the option of shunting the runaway carriage into a siding, but this would cause it to crash, putting the guard's life in jeopardy. It was decided to allow it to run through, on the downward slant to Gorton Siding. The signalman there also decided to allow it straight through. The guard's van did not come to a stop until 2 miles south of Bridge of Orchy, some 40 miles south of Corrour. The guard, still asleep, didn't have a clue that he had retraced his steps...

Ghost story from the railways

In the years before World War II, signalboxes were manned and lived in. One such stood near a railway junction in the west of England; there were also a number of sidings. In the 1920s, a family lived in the box who had a beautiful young daughter. She had caught the eye of a young man, living in the stationmaster's house, on the other side of the tracks. Although her father forebade the love, well, nothing stands in the way of love, will it now? So, the young woman sneaked out every evening to be with her young man. Her father found out one evening, and there was an unholy row in the signalbox. As the row went on over the signals, the father had to change them for the approaching express from London. His daughter took the chance, dashed down the steps and started to cross the lines. The express was early, and before she knew what has happening it was upon her. The driver was too late in seeing her, her white face and billowing hair in the headlights. He braked hard, but could not avoid a collision. The young woman was dead.

Twenty years passed. It was now in the years after World War II, and to alleviate the shortage of rolling stock, an old engine stood sighing in the sidings at the station. An express train came roaring up from London through the dark evening and passed the green signal ahead of the station. As the locomotive drew level with the signal box, the driver caught sight of a ghostly white face dashing up across the lines, jumping in front of his train, trying to cross ahead of the engine. He harshly applied the brakes, and the express juddered to a stop at the top end of the sidings. The driver jumped out of his cab and ran towards the rear carriages, which were level with the signalbox. Nothing to be seen. There was no body. What was standing in the siding next to the mainline was the old engine. The signalman, who was still there after twenty years, leaned outside to see what the commotion was about. He climbed down to the tracks and glanced past the back of the carriages - and recognised the engine. It was the very locomotive that had mowed down his own daughter, all those years ago.

I'm a Poplar

This one has done the rounds, but I like it

WHAT TREE DID YOU FALL FROM?
Find your birthday and then find your tree. This  is really cool and somewhat accurate. Then send it to your friends, so they can find out what tree they fell from.
Find your tree below and  see what you are like...
 
Jan 01 to Jan 11 - Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 - Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 - Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 - Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 - Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 - Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 - Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 - Lime Tree
Mar 21 (only) - Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 - Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 - Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 - Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 - Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 - Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 - Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 - Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13 - Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 - Fig Tree
Jun 24 (only) - Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 - Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 - Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 - Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 - Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 - Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 - Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 - Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 - Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 - Lime Tree
Sep 23 (only) - Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 - Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 - Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 - Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 - Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 - Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 - Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 - Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 - Fig Tree
Dec 22 (only) - Beech Tree
Dec 23 to Jan 01 - Apple Tree
 
TREES (in alphabetical order)
 
Apple Tree (Love) --  quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal, and  attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adventurous, sensitive,  loyal in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner,  very generous, many talents, loves children, needs
affectionate partner.
 
Ash Tree (Ambition) --  extremely attractive,
vivacious, impulsive,  demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent,  talented,  likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable, restless  lover, sometimes money rules over the heart, demands attention, needs  love and much emotional support.
 
Beech Tree (Creative) --  has good taste, concerned about its looks,  materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good  leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime  companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).
 
Birch Tree (Inspiration) --  vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the  vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of  imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.
 
Cedar Tree (Confidence) --  of rare strength, knows how to adapt, likes  unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look   down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious,  healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.
 
Chestnut Tree (Honesty) --  of unusual stature, impressive,  well-developed  sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born diplomat, can be  irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard worker, sometimes  acts superior, feels not understood at times,
fiercely family oriented,  very loyal in love, physically fit.
 
Cypress Tree (Faithfulness) --  strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what  life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it, strives to be content,  optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and  affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied,  faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to  gain knowledge, needs to be needed.
 
Elm Tree (Noble-mindedness) --  pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest  demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not  to obey, honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions for others,  noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.
 
Fig Tree (Sensibility) --  very strong minded, a bit self-willed, honest,  loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker when  wants to be, loves life and friends, enjoys children and animals,  sexually oriented, great sense of humor, has artistic talent and great  intelligence.
 
Fir tree (Mysterious) --  extraordinary taste, handles stress well, loves  anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them,  hard  to trust others, yet a social butterfly, likes idleness and laziness  after long demanding hours at work, rather modest,
talented, unselfish,  many friends, very reliable.
 
Hazelnut Tree (Extraordinary) -- charming, sense of humor, very demanding but can also be very understanding, knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of judgment and expects complete fairness.
 
Hornbeam Tree (Good Taste) -- of cool beauty, cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.
 
Lime Tree (Doubt) - intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.
 
Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) -- no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily,
complicated love life, wants to impress.
 
Oak Tree (Brave) -- robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.
 
Olive Tree (Wisdom) -- loves sun, warmth and kind feelings, reasonable well balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated
people.
 
Pine Tree (Peacemaker) -- loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to,
emotionally soft, low self esteem, needs affection and reassurance.
 
Poplar Tree (Uncertainty) -- looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean
toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.
 
Rowan Tree (Sensitivity) -- full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not
forgive.
 
Walnut Tree (Passion) -- unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired,
ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.
 
Weeping Willow (Melancholy) - likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others laugh.

Hurricane update - 30 September

ATLANTIC
Tropical Storm ISAAC was a dark horse, until yesterday afternoon when this strong tropical storm started to show its true colours. The NHC has issued the following advisory:


Bermuda, the Canadian Maritime provinces and Newfoundland should monitor the progress of Isaac. At 0400 EDT / 0900 GMT, Isaac was located near 30.3N 58W or 425 miles ESE of Bermuda. The storm is moving WNW, later NW. Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts; some strengthening is expected and Isaac could become a hurricane later today. Tropical storm force winds extend outward upto 115 miles from the centre.

WESTERN PACIFIC
Typhoon XANGSANE is now heading for central Vietnam, which will be hit with winds of 115 knots / 130 mph. After landfall, the typhoon will move to the border area between Laos and Cambodia and weaken rapidly. Heavy rains can be expected around its path. Landfall is expected near Tam Ky, but 1,000 km of coastline is affected by the typhoon.

Friday, 29 September 2006

Unusual

As you may well be aware, I keep an eye on tropical cyclones around the world. I post their progress on a separate blog, and leave advice on this one if a storm threatens land. You'll find a warning for Vietnam coming for early on Sunday.

I am also a subscriber to Technorati, and by virtue of that I found that someone linked to the Tropical Cyclone blog. This is the journal by Petar, an Australian of Slavonic [Eastern European] origin, and he has a varied journal which I would like to recommend for everybody to read. Check out http://journals.aol.com/pvodogaz/Syrophenikon/.

This is bad for my reputation

Nonetheless, I will tell this joke. I'm not deliberately causing offense, ignore this entry if you're of a sensitive disposition.


Cormorant


Shag


See the birds pictured above? They look alike, don't they?
You can tell the difference though. Would you take your man or woman to the movies, a restaurant and then home for a good cormorant?

Of mice and men

Remember the posting I made quite some time ago about rats being exterminated from the whole of the island of Canna? That they had to take the wee mice off in order to kill off the rats?

Well, the National Trust of Scotland says it's been a great success. After the last rat was killed in February, the birds came back to nest with a vengeance. Manx Shearwaters had one nest, for the first time in 10 years. Razorbills' nests increased tenfold, and shags nests increased by 50%.

Just to give you an idea which birds I'm talking about:

Shag


Razorbill



Manx Shearwater




Credits:
Picture of shag - http://jackmaryetc.com/Birds/birdphotolist.htm
Picture of razorbill - http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA/account/Razorbill/
Picture of Manx Shearwater - http://www.btinternet.com/~portlandbirdobs/birds_apr2004.htm


Friday 29/09/06

Yep, it's only 9pm, but I thought I'd better get this out of the way. Not expecting much to happen tonight at any rate.

Reasonably nice day, with the clouds disappearing until lunchtime. After lunch, mrs B and myself are taken to the Watermill, on the northern edge of the town, and walk back along the mill lade and through the Golf Course. The Watermill building is locked, unusually, and the wheel is stationary. Blackberries are starting to ripen, although some are still in bloom. Whatever is there in terms of berries is mostly very sour. Cross into the Golf Course, where a fair number of players are out. On return to town, go for some shopping - it's quite busy and actually warm this afternoon. Very stifling. This breaks down into a short shower around the 6pm mark. The Tourist Office had some up to date information leaflets and An Lanntair was closed for a wedding. I was wondering about all the guys going round town in their kilts. Dinner: mashed potatoes, green beans and fried mince with carrots.

Thursday 28/09/06

Don't sleep until 6 a.m., sniffling, snottering and going through hankies at a rate of knots. Rise not much before midday, and feeling shattered. It is a nice sunny day, of which I did not take pictures. A few showers about. Mrs B gets me a supply of paracetamol, Fisherman's Friends and 2 boxes of mansized hankies [who is the chief of the hankies - hankiechief]. Lie down during the latter part of the afternoon, which is something I hardly ever do, but need it today. Typhoon Xangsane leaves Manila under a couple of feet of water. Supper is a very nice if slightly spicy Greek stirfry with lots of chicken. Turn in for the night at 10 pm, which is very, very early for me.

Wednesday 27/09/06

Reasonably nice start to the day, but cloudcover rapidly increases on the approach of yet another front. The Philippines are bracing themselves for Typhoon Xangsane, which will hit Manila hard with strong winds and heavy rain. Otherwise, it's quiet on the hurricane front. We have 3 workmen in, two of whom start work not long after 7 am. As the day progresses, I start to develop a cold, so when I go to Somerfields I get a supply of peppermints in to soothe the throat. Supper tonight was a bit of a flop, as the power supply conked out - that is, the voltage was less than it should have been. So, the microwaveable meal was cooked for 5 minutes, but was underdone. Sunset at 7.15. As the evening progresses, the wind picks up, and the resultant gale and rain buffet the house all night.

The cloud formations in the pictures above are a very ill omen, particularly picture #2.

Dangerous dogs

Over the past week or so, there have been a number of attacks by large dogs on small children. Tragically, in one of these attacks, in Leicester, England, a young baby was killed. The animals involved in this incident were destroyed. The dog that attacked a young child was not put down, as it was described as not being dangerous by its owner. I found it beyond belief that one owner didn't think their dog was dangerous, even after it mauled a young child. I would almost argue that any dog that mauls a child should be put down, as it is dangerous to people.

Schoolbuses

Here in the Western Isles, an unholy row has broken out between the council and the residents of Laxdale, Newmarket, Newvalley and Cearns. The latter 4 villages could be termed "suburbs" of Stornoway, but I think referring to suburbs when you're talking about a town pop 7,500 is a bit overrated.

Anyways, the row has to do with schoolbuses. A 31-seater bus is used to ferry youngsters from Laxdale School, about 1 mile north of Stornoway, to their homes in the villages mentioned above. Bearing in mind that Laxdale School is a primary school, 3 children were able to sit in a double seat, in which two adults normally fit. The council has tightened up on regulations, and have stated that only two kids would be allowed to sit in a double seat. Which leaves a number of kids out in the cold. There is only the one bus, you see. Those that can't travel on the bus have to walk in. You're not talking vast distances here, 2 miles max, but the roads here have no pavements, and are in use by lorries, buses and other large vehicles. Pedestrians have to jump into the ditch to prevent being mowed down.

And that's given the row, justifiably so, as the children have to walk to school along dangerous roads. In December, they'll be walking in the dark, as the sun doesn't rise until 9.15. The parents have now threatened to keep their kids at home until the council lays on a larger bus.

Scorn

I have no sympathy for the people of a certain island in the Hebrides who are now fighting like cats in a sack. It's not Lewis, it's one island a little bit further south. I won't name names. This group of islanders failed to charge campers and campervanners for using their land, and they're now bemoaning the loss of £2,000 of camping charges they did not levy.

Everybody wanted to welcome campers, but nobody wanted them on THEIR land. They were so busy fighting amongst themselves over whether or not to welcome them, that the islanders forgot to charge for the use of their land. I know the island fairly well, and have fond memories of it. But this is just plain stupid. And going on an Internet message board saying that caravanners are not welcome is even more stupid.

Good morning

Good morning readers, your NorthernTripper is back on form. Have put the cold out with the bins, the binlorry has been and gone.

AOL have reversed the implementation of update R8, which I think should be zero-rated (sic). So all the problems you had yesterday, with pictures, screenname JOURNALS, and no update buttons should be a thing of the past. If you're so minded, you can help the journals team find the cause of all the problems. Go to the JournalsEditors blog, where Jeff has instructions for you. All you need to do is sign on to your beta journal (beta.journals.aol.co.uk/pharmolo/NorthernTrip in my case) and do what it says in the entry. I can't be bothered, but I'd like to be constructive so if anyone wants to, you know where to go.

It's a bright sunny morning in the islands, with only a mild breeze. Long may it continue - however, October is only 2 days away.

Thursday, 28 September 2006

CarnivAOL 22

Paul is asking all bloggers to submit entries for inclusion in the CarnivAOL blog. Go over and have a look.

Thursday

You won't get much out of me today; had virtually no sleep overnight, and although the flood has now stopped, I'm well bunged up. I'll live though. Weather here in the isles is changeable, sunshine and drizzly showers. The lunchtime ferry was half an hour late into Stornoway, as it's quite windy today. How do I know? I am on the harbour front and every boat that comes and goes passes within my view. And by virtue of the Internet, I am able to find out all about the ships. The cruise season finished a fortnight ago, just as well for the poor cruise passengers. I'll leave you with a story that did the rounds last year.

A cruiseliner was rounding Cape Wrath, 60 miles to the northeast of here, in galeforce winds. The sea was rough, and the passengers less than comfortable. One of them, a lady from Rome, was convinced the ship was about to go down, so she rang her sister in Italy. The sister became so concerned that she contacted the Italian coastguard, who in turn got in touch with their counterparts in Aberdeen. When they radio'd the cruiseship, the captain said: "It's rough out here, it's not very nice, but we're safe and not about to sink".

Typhoon Xangsane - 28 September

As forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, abovementioned typhoon passed the Philippine capital Manila early on Thursday. The city was brought to a standstill as part of it were left waistdeep in water. Four thousand people were left stranded as ferries were stormbound in their ports. Seven have lost their lives. More details from BBC News.

Xangsane will now move into the South China Sea and hit the Vietnamese resort of Da Nang on Sunday with winds of up to 120 mph.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Cold

And of course, two days after being infected by our weekend guest, here I am


Ownership

Cathy (Luddie343) asked if the family of Sir James Matheson, drugsbaron avant la lettre, still owned the island. No. It was sold to William Lever, founder of the Unilever empire (of Sunlight Soap fame) in 1918. Lord Leverhulme, as he was to become, had great plans to industrialise Lewis and its southern contiguous neighbour, Harris. There was going to be a whaling station 4 miles northwest of Tarbert (Harris). A fishery station at Carloway, linked by railway to Stornoway, 16 miles to the east. A roadlink between Tolsta and Ness. None of this came about, and Leverhulme was forced to sell up.

In 1923, he offered the island to its people. Only the district of Stornoway took up the offer. The parishes of Barvas, Uig and Lochs, as well as Harris, were snapped up by private landowners. The depredations of World War I, which took more than 1000 lives also led to a large surge in emigration at the same time.

Now, in 2006, a battle is going on to reclaim parts of the island for its communities. The Galson Trust has recently acquired the funding (about £600k) to buy the northern part of Lewis. The villagers of Lochs are locked in a stalemate with an unwilling landlord, who has resorted to legalistics to prevent them from mounting a succesful takeover of the land - which is possible under new legislation.

Drugsbaron


A memorial to a drugsbaron was inaugurated in Stornoway today, after an extensive refurbishment. Those arriving into Stornoway by ferry may be familiar with the monument, which stands on a hill overlooking the harbour.

It was erected by the wife of Sir James Matheson (1796 - 1878) in his memory. The inaugural ceremony was attended by representatives of the Matheson Clan and from the Jardine-Matheson company, co-founded by James Matheson in the 1820s.

Sir James Matheson made his fortune in the opiumtrade, and could arguably be referred to as a drugsbaron. This may well elicit a few gasps of horror in certain circles, but it should be born in mind that Great Britain went to war to protect its interests in said opiumtrade. At the end of the Opiumwars, Hong Kong was occupied by Britain, only to be ceded back to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

Matheson meanwhile returned to Scotland in 1842 and purchased the Isle of Lewis. For his efforts to alleviate the effects of the potato famine (1846/7) in Lewis, he was awarded a baronetcy in 1851.

Matheson was also responsible for clearing the inhabitants of 36 villages in southeastern Lewis from the district of Eishken, repopulating them with sheep. Hmm. Was shunting people off the land the underlying reason for him being awarded the title? I'm being very nasty here, actually.

Complaints

Here are the top nine most bizarre and genuine customer complaints received by a travel firm in recent years:

1 On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food at all.

2 The beach was too sandy.

3 I bought a snorkel and swimming mask for my six-year-old son, but he was too upset to use them as the fish frightened him.

4 Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.

5 I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.

6 It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time - this should be banned.

7 We bought 'Ray-Ban' sunglasses for five euros (£3.50) from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.

8 None of the hotel staff was English, and the tea didn't taste the same as at home.

9 I would like to complain about the price of alcohol in the resort. It was too cheap and I woke with a hangover every day.

I'm worth... how much???


Your Life Is Worth...
$330,500

Kristallnacht

The title of this entry is in German, and it means Crystal Night. It is one of the horrible euphemism of the 20th century. The more common translation is Night of Broken Glass, but I thought I'd translate the German directly, to make its impact more severe.

The 9th November 1938 is the date associated with a night of rampage, wanton destruction and harassment of the worst degree of Jewish people in the Germany of Adolf Hitler. After becoming Reichs Kanzler in 1933, Hitler rapidly put into action a program of ostracising and later mass murdering the Jewish population of Germany and the countries his regime occupied during World War II. Six million were to die. The Kristallnacht pogrom was the start of this horror. Windows were smashed, shops looted that were owned by Jews (made easily distinguishable by the word "Jude" [Jew in German] daubed on their windows. Synagogues were ransacked and set alight.

The background to the events of November 9th, 1938 can be found on this page. Allied to that was a burning of books that ran contrary to the Nazi doctrine, and as it's Banned Books Week, (with thanks to Souternmush) thought it appropriate to tell the tale of the Crystal Night.

The image below shows a synagogue in Munich after the pogrom.


I fight intolerance where I can

Priests in a pickle

There were three priests in a railroad station, all wanting to go home to Pittsburg. Behind the ticket counter was a very, very shapely lass. Well endowed, gorgeous, amazing.

The priests were all in embarrassing new territory, so they drew straws to determine who would get the tickets.

The first priest approached the window. "Young lady," he began, "I would like three pickets to titsburg..."

Whereupon he completely lost his composure and fled.

The second priest approached. "Young lady, I would like three tickets to Pittsburg," he began, "and I would like the change in nipples and dimes."

So of course he also fled.

Then came the third.

"Young lady, I would like three tickets to Pittsburg, and I would like the change in nickels and dimes. And I must say," he continued, "if you insist on dressing like that, when you get to the pearly gates, St. Finger's going to shake his peter at you." !!

Thanks

Thank you, God!
FOR THE WIFE
WHO SAYS IT'S HOT DOGS TONIGHT,
BECAUSE SHE IS HOME WITH ME,
AND NOT OUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

FOR THE HUSBAND
WHO IS ON THE SOFA
BEING A COUCH POTATO,
BECAUSE HE IS HOME WITH ME
AND NOT OUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.


FOR THE TEENAGER

WHO IS COMPLAINING ABOUT DOING DISHES
BECAUSE IT MEANS SHE IS AT HOME,
NOT ON THE STREETS.


FOR THE TAXES I PAY

BECAUSE IT MEANS
I AM EMPLOYED.


FOR THE MESS TO CLEAN UP AFTER THE PARTY

BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE
BEEN SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS.


FOR THE CLOTHES THAT FIT A LITTLE TOO SNUG

BECAUSE IT MEANS
I HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.


FOR MY SHADOW THAT WATCHES ME WORK

BECAUSE IT MEANS
I AM OUT IN THE SUNSHINE


FOR A LAWN THAT NEEDS MOWING,
WINDOWS THAT NEED CLEANING,
AND GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING

BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE A HOME.


FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING
I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT

BECAUSE IT MEANS
WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.


FORTHE PARKING SPOT
I FIND AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT

BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM CAPABLE OF WALKING
AND I HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH TRANSPORTATION
.


FOR MY HUGE HEATING BILL

BECAUSE IT MEANS
I AM WARM.


FOR THE LADY BEHIND ME IN CHURCH
WHO SINGS OFF KEY

BECAUSE IT MEANS
I CAN HEAR.


FOR THE PILE OF LAUNDRY AND IRONING

BECAUSE IT MEANS
I HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR.


FOR WEARINESS AND ACHING MUSCLES
AT THE END OF THE DAY

BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN
CAPABLE OF WORKING HARD.


FOR THE ALARM THAT GOES OFF IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS

BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM ALIVE.


AND FINALLY,

FOR TOO MUCH E-MAIL
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE
FRIENDS WHO ARE THINKING OF ME.


SEND THIS TO SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT. I JUST DID.

Typhoon Xangsane

I am raising the red flag on abovementioned typhoon, which is going to hammer the Philippines, Vietnam and southern Laos / northern Cambodia over the next 5 days.


In the above map, the purple date/time codes (like 29/06Z) indicate the forecast position of the typhoon at (e.g.) 29th September at 0600 GMT.
Xangsane is approaching the Philippines from the east-southeast with winds of 115 knots, which is equivalent to 130 mph, gusting to 140 knots (160 mph). The typhoon will pass directly over the capital, Manila, winds up to 90 knots (105 mph), before shifting out over the South China Sea. By the time it reaches Hue, in central Vietnam, it will have reinvigorated to 115 knots maximum sustained windspeeds. Because of its intensity, Xangsane will pass inland and only slowly lose intensity, as tropical hurricanes do over land. The forecast windspeeds for Monday, when the typhoon will be over southern Laos, are 95 kts or 110 mph. Because this is 5 days away, no further projection is made, but Xangsane could conceivably make it into Thailand.

Updates on its track are made on the Joint Typhoon Warning Center's website.

PLEASE RELAY // PLEASE RELAY

Tuesday 26/09/06

Fairly reasonable day weatherwise, although it's mostly cloudy and breezy. Mrs B's son and guest are heading back to Glasgow on the ferry. They have a hot lunch at 12.30, and mrs B and myself walk them to the terminal at 1pm. The MV Isle of Lewis arrives on time at 1.15, and departs spot-on at 1.45. Accompany mrs B back to her house, where we have a hamroll for lunch. Typhoon Xangsane is threatening the Philippines. The groups of teenagers from the local secondary school are still hanging around Somerfields. They also do so at the ferry terminal and in An Lanntair. Not so much a bother, but they don't clear up after themselves, judging by the piles of rubbish left behind every day. Supper tonight chili con carne with peach slices. Night falls at 7.30, over a decidedly dreich and grey day.

Note on picture 3: The sinking of the SS Norge in 1904 was one of the worst losses of life at sea in peacetime. Only the Titanic saw a greater loss of life. Nine passengers lie buried in Sandwick Cemetery; nearly 800 lost their lives. The Norge was en route from Scandinavia to America, when she struck rocks at Rockall Island, 250 miles west of Scotland. When the ship was put into reverse, she slid off the rocks, but the gash in her hull quickly led to her sinking. Read this article for more details.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Monday 25/09/06

Cloudy but fairly bright day, with some wind and a drop of rain. Mrs B's son + guest go around town for the morning by car and on foot during the afternoon. I catch up with my diary; J-land journals take up 2½ hours. Before I do the latter, I nip over the Somerfields for the daily shop. It's very quiet in there, but have to wait in a queue for someone to get their large shop processed. Sun comes out at 3pm. Forecast for later in the week is quite poor. A large group of starlings was congregating elsewhere in the town this weekend. The Highland moutains claimed two lives this weekend. Sunset tonight 7.15pm - where have the long nights of June gone, sigh. A French fishingboat came in for a crewchange. Supper tonight was spaghetti bolognese.

Hurricane update - 26 September PM

Typhoon Xangsane is located at 12.2N 126.2E with windspeeds of 65 knots and is moving west towards Luzon Philippines. The system will pass within 20 miles of Manila with winds of 65 to 70 kts, then transfer into the East China Sea. Xangsane will intensify to 90 kts and make landfall near Hue, Vietnam, on October 1st on that strength.

PLEASE RELAY // PLEASE RELAY

New drug for liver disease

Another item from the BBC's website, this time on the Health front:

A cheap and readily available drug could reverse severe liver disease, even in patients who find it impossible to give up booze, research suggests.

Sulphasalazine is currently used to treat arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. But a University of Newcastle team has found that it can also reverse the scarring associated with cirrhosis of the liver.

Liver disease is the fifth highest cause of death in the UK. It is estimated that up to 10% of the UK population have problems with their liver - and most are linked to lifestyle factors, such as heavy drinking and obesity.

Scientists had thought that the scarring associated with cirrhosis - known as fibrosis - was irreversible. However, recent studies have shown that is not the case. Now the Newcastle team, in tests on animals, have shown that Sulphasalazine can aid the recovery process.

Regeneration

When the liver is injured specialised cells called hepatic myofibroblasts create scar tissue, and secrete proteins which prevent it being broken down. In healthy liver tissue the scars eventually melt away and are replaced by new normal tissue. However, in diseased tissue this process does not happen. Instead the scar tissue proliferates, and spreads throughout the whole organ. The Newcastle team showed that Sulphasalazine could aid recovery by blocking the production of proteins that keep the scar tissue cells alive.

They plan to carry out trials in humans, but already believe the drug has the potential to provide an alternative to a liver transplant. The drug will initially be given to heavy drinkers who have given up alcohol, but too late for their liver to recover naturally. If this proves successful, the medicine will also be prescribed to alcoholics who continue to drink but show a determination to fight their addiction by reducing their intake. Professor Derek Mann, who led the research, said just a 5% to 10% recovery of the organ could have a huge impact on quality of life. 

Efforts needed

Professor Chris Day, head of Newcastle University's School of Clinical Medical Sciences, said the drug was likely to work best on people who had made some effort to kick their boozing habit. But he said it offered a potential solution to the tricky ethical problem of offering people who abused alcohol a liver transplant. Many people believe it is wrong to use organs that are in very short supply on people who have not demonstrated their ability to reform their drinking.

Professor Day said: "In that situation you may not give somebody a transplant, but you are not going to stop them getting a tablet, particularly if it only costs £10 a week. "Cirrhosis is the fifth highest cause of death in the UK today, and it would not be too optimistic to say this drug could halve that death rate."

Professor David Jones, another member of the Newcastle liver team, said he and his colleagues regularly saw patients in their twenties with severe liver disease. He said: "There is no point at which an alcoholic patient won't benefit from stopping drinking, but now we can actually help the healing process."

Anne Jenkins, of the charity Alcohol Concern, said: "The last 20 years have seen a significant increase in rates of liver cirrhosis, particularly among the 34-45 age group. "Research that could help to reverse harm is obviously to be welcomed, but this work is at an early stage, and more needs to be done.

COMMENT

It is good that an alternative to liver transplants may be on the horizon. Sulphasalazine is an old drug, which started life as an antibiotic in the 1950s. It has serious side-effects, such as an impact on the bloodcells, nausea and vomiting. In my opinion, it is borderline ethical to give liver transplants to people who have knowingly destroyed their own liver. I appreciate that alcoholism is a disease in itself, and an addiction.

Please bear in mind that this is early days yet, and a lot more work needs doing, as the last paragraph of this piece stresses.

Dog starts car

(From the BBC's Southern Counties news website)
A breakdown patrol man who came to the rescue of a woman motorist has managed to get her car started using her dog.

Juliette Piesley, 39, had changed the battery in her electronic key fob but was then unable to start her car.

When AA patrolman Kevin Gorman arrived at the scene in Addlestone, Surrey, he found its immobiliser chip was missing. Ms Piesley said her dog George had eaten something, and realising it was the chip, he put the dog in the front seat and started the car with the key.

Mr Gorman said: "I was glad to get the car started for the member. They will now have to take George [the dog] with them in the car until things take their natural course. It is the first time that I have had to get a dog to help me to start a car."

Update R8

Well, we've had our update and of course it's not working properly. I told the lady in charge of the technical side that we need a confidence boosting measure. The release of R8 was not it. There are problems with signing in, no update buttons, adding to alert lists. Don't we all just LOVE updates.


Webcam and other associated sites

Just a brief refresher in the other goodies that I've got on the Net

The Newton webcam which shows today's weather, ships coming in and out of port - or a handful of lights, some blinking, others permanent. The latter of course at night.

I also have a website about my take on the Isle of Lewis.

The Arnish Lighthouse blog offers perspectives on life in the island.

Enjoy!

A drive through Stornoway

On September 5th, I was coming into Stornoway from Barvas, and decided to record a couple of minutes of the drive through the town. It was a rainy morning, but it gives some idea what this place looks like.


Autumn

I'm resuming participation in Krissy and Val's Photo Scavenger Hunt. Edition #90 is about Autumn.

At the moment, autumn has not really arrived. As such. The leaves haven't started to turn, although we're due a spell of wet and windy weather.

These two I took in November 2005, showing the effects of a hurricane. I hasten to add: a normal, equinoctial gale. Nothing tropical about it at all.

Spray flying over Goat Island causeway (to the right); 11 November 2005
Angry riders running into number 2/3 piers; 11 November 2005

The Lewis moor turning yellow and brown, 24 September 2006

And of course: Toadstools.

Hurricane update - 26 September

Tropical storm Xangsane is heading towards the northern Phillippines, and will hit the island of Luzon on Thursday (early Friday local time) as a typhoon with winds of 65 kts. The projected path will lie 90 miles north of the capital, Manila. Further updates from the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

There are no hurricanes in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific at this time. The remnants of tropical cyclone 04A are trying to regenerate south of Karachi, but are not expected to redevelop.

Tag: typhoon hurricane xangsane

Call for support

I was pointed to a new journal today, written by a lady called Gerry. She is 75 years of age, and has plucked up the courage to write about her background and health problems. Her journal, Daughters of the Shadowmen, is not easy reading, but I feel that Gerry fully deserves J-land's support in the later stages of her life.

Monday, 25 September 2006

Planned outage

AOL Journals will be off-line between 4 and 6 AM EDT (that's 9 to 11 AM BST) tomorrow, 26 September. This is to install R8 of AOL Journals. I don't know what the benefits are of R8 - we shall find out. Let's hope it doesn't blow the whole system skyhigh.

Cyber Cruelty

I'm going to broach a subject that has crossed my path recently in the case of the VIVIs. I have closed the books on that one, and my understanding is that things are moving in the right direction again. But not without people getting hurt, and what for, for goodness' sakes?

I also understand that some in J-land get subjected to hateful comments, and I just don't understand why anybody needs to be cruel to somebody you don't know, you've never met and in all likelyhood not even spoken to on the 'phone. Or had an IM exchange with, for that matter.

At the end of the day, you're looking at somebody's writing, on your computer screen. You may not agree with it, it could conceivably offend. Fortunately, the Internet is endowed with a white cross in a red cross. If you click your mouse on it, the relevant window closes. Nobody forces you to read an Internet page, do they?

I'm probably too naive for my own good (am I? nah), but would like to ask for a bit of tolerance around the block.

Oh, before I click SAVE: I have no indication to suggest that any journalers of my acquaintance are guilty of any such practices. At the end of the day, any AOL member can cook up a screenie - or anyone on the net can make a screenie under AIM - which is used to make such comments.

Pregnant Lady

ACTUAL AUSTRALIAN COURT DOCKET 12659 CASE OF THE PREGNANT LADY

A lady about 8 months pregnant got on a bus. She noticed the man opposite her was smiling at her.

She immediately moved to another seat.

This time the smile turned into a grin, so she moved again. The man seemed more amused.

When on the fourth move, the man burst out laughing, she complained to the driver and he had the man arrested.

The case came up in court. The judge asked the man (about 20 years old) what he had to say for himself. The man replied, "Well your Honor, it was like this. When the lady got on the bus, I couldn't help but notice her condition.

She sat under a sweets sign that said, "The Double Mint Twins are coming!" and I grinned.

Then she moved and sat under a sign that said, "Logan's Liniment will reduce the swelling", and I had to smile.

Then she placed herself under a deodorant sign that said, "William's Big Stick Did the Trick", and I could hardly contain myself.

BUT, your Honor, when she moved the fourth time and sat under a sign that said, "Goodyear Rubber could have prevented this Accident"... I just lost it."

Up to date + storm warning

Right, here we are, 2 hours and 20 minutes later and me up to date with about 48 journals. It's a beautiful sunny afternoon, with a cool breeze blowing in the islands. Not been out, save for hopping down to the supermarket when the sun was not yet out.

Autumn has definitely arrived, but it's not as severe as could be. However, I need to put out an advance warning for some very windy weather by the end of the week for the whole of the UK. The remnant of hurricane Helene, currently a very deep area of low pressure on the 33rd degree longitude West, will swing in from the southwest and there is a sharp gradient of atmospheric pressure on its eastern flank. If I tell you that Helene will sit over Ireland and its windfield swings north over the UK, you know what to expect. A lot of wind. Watch the forecasts!

Below shows the weatherchart for Thursday. You can probably make out some tightly packed lines over the UK - that's your wind.


Tagged

Over the weekend, I was tagged by Barbara (Life & Faith in Caneyhead) to list Six Things about me that are weird and you might not be aware of.  Now I could claim I wasn't weird, but that wouldn't fly very far.  So, now it is just to narrow down my vast list and decide which things I want to let you be privy to. 
 
So, here goes:
 
  • Unless it's warm, I always have a woolly hat and gloves with me. Must be the climate in the islands...
  • I didn't start to take alcohol until just over a year ago
  • I can walk for miles on a relatively level road, but am pegged out within minutes on a steep incline
  • I chew liquorice root sticks until the taste has gone out of the mushed fibres, then expel the lump
  • I have been known to drive people to distraction by the speed at which I type on a keyboard. At least twice I've been asked to stop.
  • I am not married. Weird? You don't know me. Better find something else - no, I'm not gay. Happy yes, gay no.
  • Give me a map and I can find my way around any city or area in the world. That is weird, I'm telling you. Because I keep running into people who can't read a map for toffee.
Now who on earth will I tag?
 

Now ya'll go to your journals and list 6 weird things about yourselves that we might not know yet.  Link back to me, and pick out six more people to do it. (Be sure to let them know you have picked them, in case they are slow getting around to their alerts!)

Alerts

Since Friday evening, I did not check my New Entry alerts, so I had 114 sitting in my inbox. Rather than going through them one-by-one, which would have seen me here until midnight (it's 3pm now), I decided to list everybody that had written an entry in any of their journals that I subscribe to. Which left 48 screenies, one of them an AOL blog (pictures). So, here I go, off doing the rounds.

Addition

For those who were first off the blocks on seeing my alerts: Saturday's (23rd) and Sunday's (24th) entries initially didn't have any pictures in them. They have now - enjoy!

Sunday 24/09/06

Our guest is developing a cold. We cross over to Arnish after breakfast, driving through a deserted town. The fabrication yard is locked - I've never seen it locked in the period that I've been in Stornoway. Lengths of pipes, some with poorly spelled claims of ownership on them, scatter the yard. We slowly amble to the lighthouse, a mile to the east, overlooking Stornoway and Sandwick. All the ponies, which run semi-wild here, have now congregated by the keeper's cottage. Said cottage could do with a clear-out. Large hairly caterpillars crawl through the grass. The old beacon, which now lies on its side, used to reflect the light from the lighthouse to warn of a reef. During a violent storm in 1983, it was blown over. I wander up to the memorial to the fisherman, who drowned on this coast in December 2004. On passing the keeper's cottage again, the ponies nearly stop us passing through a gate. I take the track leading to Downie's harbour, the old Glumag pier. This used to be the landing point for taking supplies to the lighthouse. A much larger dock has now been constructed alongside the 80ft high sheds of the fabrication yard. I also discover the wherabouts of the Hebridean Seaweed factory. The smell of rotting seaweed is faintly unpleasant. We return to Newton at 2.30, where our guest takes to his bed. I join mrs B's son on a drive to Ness, under gathering gloom. It is still very quiet and we reach Port Nis in 45 minutes. Sand is silting up the harbour again. The tide is right out, through. Continue west to Eoropie. We pass the chapel to St Moluag and several large peatstacks, much more common here than elsewhere in Lewis. Drive up to the lighthouse, where a campervan is parked up. On exploring the clifftops, I discover a pedometer with 2555 steps on it. The owner is looking for it not far away, by the gate into the lighthouse compound. The wind gets up, making it feel increasingly chilly. At Eoropie beach, just over a mile to the south of the lighthouse, rabbits are running riot in the dunes. Quadbikers have torn up dunes and beach. The tide is further out than I've ever seen it, making it possible for me to see the other beaches further south. On leaving Ness at 5pm, it comes on to a spot or two of rain. We make a brief excursion up and down Loch Street, Barvas. On crossing the Barvas Moor, the rain starts in earnest. It continues to pour all evening. Supper is a roast leg of lamb with vegetables.

Saturday 23/09/06

Nice sunny morning, which we spend preparing for the afternoon's trip to Uig. We first head for the supermarket, using the car hired by mrs B's son. Having collected the shopping, we make for Cuddy Point to have a picknick lunch. Of course, I was bringing everything for the tea - hot water, milk, sugar, cups. But no teabags. A rapid to and fro by car sorted that out. A few wasps buzz around to investigate the ham rolls, a bumblebee is attracted to a brightly coloured supermarket bag. At 2.40, we head west for Reef Beach in Uig where another of mrs B's sons has a caravan. Our guest is taken for a walk along a beach, while I drag mrs B over the hill to a viewpoint overlooking Valtos village and Pabay island. We find a large number of machair snails. The flowers have all gone to seed and the grass is turning yellow. We return to town at 6.50. Supper is chicken korma, which is prepared in no time at all. Watch Noel Edmunds present the Lottery show. And why that man always makes an ass of everybody around him, whether it be contestants or colleagues, I have never understood.

Friday 22/09/06

The wind howled around the house overnight, as the remnant of hurricane Gordon scooted north on its way to oblivion. Next instalment in this saga: Helene, due on Wednesday. Friday is a nice sunny day. We have one guest in, a chap from the far northwest of Scotland who is here to collect his boat which is being checked on the Goat Island slipway. Boat GXJG is being used to warn fishing boats to stay away from a bombing range east of Cape Wrath. The man used to be harbourmaster at Kinlochbervie, 11 miles south of the Cape. His boat leaves the slip at 11.20 a.m.. Mrs B's second son is due in tonight, with the guest I mentioned in separate blog entries. I head into town for papers and a computer magazine. Supper is a reheated leftover from supper yesterday. Another beautiful sunset, after which the ferry arrives on time. Make my acquaintance with our guest - who takes some getting used to.

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Hurricane update - 24 September

Just to say that at this time, there are no tropical cyclones to worry about. The remnant of Helene will reach the British Isles as an active depression on Wednesday, with a lot of rain but no excessive winds - I hope I'm not about to experience a "Michael Fish" moment (UK readers know what I'm talking about).

Typhoon Yagi has ceased to be a tropical cyclone, even though it sported a central pressure of 910 mbar a few days ago (on average, your barometer will show 990 to 1030 mbars).

Tropical Storm Mukda has been spinning 250-300 miles south of Karachi for a few days, but has brought no more than some strong winds (force 7 to 9) and heavy rain to the coast of Gujarat state in India.

And a tropical depression is moving inland in Vietnam and is about to disappear.

Evening

It's been pouring with rain since 6 o'clock, which was actually the time I returned from my trip north to Ness. When I was there, the weather was cloudy with a thin breeze, but otherwise as nice as ever. The village of Eoropie is overrun by rabbits. Our guest did not join us on this last voyage, as he felt unwell. I hope he feels better tomorrow. I cannot give further details, other than to say that for several reasons he is extremely vulnerable in society. It's his first holiday - ever.

Just had a look in my email Inbox, which is now showing 109 alerts. Oh dear, looks as if I've got my job cut out for tomorrow.

Knew this?

In the 1400's a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb".

Many years ago in
Scotland
, a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the US Treasury.

Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

Coca-Cola was originally green .

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The average number of people airborne over the
US
any given hour: 61,000

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king in history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?
A. One thousand

Q.What do bullet-proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laserprinters all have in common?
A. All invented by women.

Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... "goodnight, sleep tight."

It was the accepted practice in
Babylon
4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old
England
, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down." It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's"

Many years ago in
England
, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.

Don't delete this just because it looks weird. Believe it or not, you can read it..........

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdgnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the first and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.

~~~~~~~~~~~AND FINALLY~~~~~~~~~~~~

At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow

Sunday

Off again for a trip, perhaps two, this afternoon. First to the Arnish Lighthouse, just across the water from here. Features in quite a few of my photographs. And if I'm still alive upon return, I may go to Ness, north Lewis, after lunch.

Saturday, 23 September 2006

Head round the corner

Howdy folks. Feeling shattered right now - we're having a guest in who is perfectly charming, engaging and witty. He does have some special needs. Which we're more than happy to tend to, but boy, it is exhausting. I'm aware I've still got 57 journal entries to read (won't do that until tomorrow or Monday, by which time it will have accumulated to about 150). Just want to leave you with three titbits - two items of news from the Highlands which caught my eye and what Russian roads look like for real.

* A hillwalker was rescued with serious headinjuries after falling 600 feet from a ridge in Glencoe, 20 miles south of Fort William.

* A shepherd was found dead after being reported missing since yesterday near Newtonmore, 40 miles east of Fort William. He had been gathering sheep.

* Think your roads are bad? Have a look at this!


Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, 22 September 2006

Evilmeter



How evil are you?
Do I believe this???

Thursday 21/09/06

Very wet day, with the rain persisting until 3.30pm. Very strong winds, up to force 11, are expected at Land's End and St David's Head, resulting from the passage of the remnant of Hurricane Gordon. Hurricane Helene will be here next Wednesday; typhoon Yagi will thrash Iwo Jima with 160 mph winds. A tropical storm has brewed up 300 miles south of Karachi. Up here, not much wind, just rain. And it was the rain that forced the abandonment of the search on Rum. The worst is feared. Am amazed at the volume of emails these days: in excess of 100 alerts today. The Galson Trust has managed to accumulate all the money needed to buy the estate. The John Muir Trust, which looks after Ben Nevis, has pledged support and a grant. The grant will become a loan if the windfarm gets built. About 190 windturbines, each standing 450 ft tall, will be built across 50 miles in Lewis. Sun is out after 4pm. The Greek dish (see Recipe Book) will be tried out using pork. The evening remains calm and warm - 15C / 60F at 7.30pm.

VIVIs

Having seen a sample or two of the pettiness that lurks in the darker corners of J-land, I've decided to just laugh.

Unrelated to that, I find it singularly difficult to single out individual journals for shortlisting. First of all, I don't read that many (although, 60 keep me more than occupied). Secondly, each journal is unique in its own right - because each and everyone of us is unique. It is the story of a person's life, or those aspects that one person wants to put across on-line. Nonetheless, I'll see if the force be with me.

Weekend

I'm not sure whether I'll be able to keep up with alerts and stuff this weekend - a visitor is due who may require everybody's attention, probably mine as well. If that's the case, please bear with me, hope to resume normal service early next week.

Not my resume

1. My first job was working in an Orange Juice factory, but I got canned.  I couldn't concentrate.

2. Then I worked in the woods as a Lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the axe.

3.  After that, I tried to be a Tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it -- mainly because it was only a sew-sew job.

4.  Next, I tried working in a Muffler Factory, but that was too exhausting.

5   Then, I tried to be a Chef -- figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I just didn't have the thyme.

6.  I attempted to be a Deli Worker, but any  way I sliced it I couldn't cut the mustard.

7.  My best job was a Musician, but eventually I found I wasn't noteworthy.

8.  I studied a long time to become a Doctor, but I didn't have any patience.

9.  Next, was a job in a Shoe Factory.  I tried but I just didn't fit in.

10.  I became a Professional Fisherman, but discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.

11.  I managed to get a good job working for a Pool Maintenance Company, but the work was just too draining.

12.  So then I got a job in a Workout Center , but they said I wasn't fit for the job.

13.  After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally g! ot a jo b as a Historian - until I realized there was no future in it.

14.  My last job was working in Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.

 
 
15.  SO, I TRIED RETIREMENT AND FOUND THAT I'M PERFECT FOR THE JOB !!!!