Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Seven Wonders..

These are the three pyramids of Giza. They are the only items left from the original seven wonders of the world. They have been around for so long, nobody can work out how they were made. We still are in awe of them. So now somebody has decided that we need seven wonders that we can still see rather than just artists impressions, but get this, the Giza pyramids have to compete for a place in the list. Can you believe that the pyramids could get ousted by the Statue of Liberty (French, by the way), the Eiffel Tower or some other 19th century relic?

What are these people thinking? The pyramids are beating time almost. The sheer size, complexity of passages and wall paintings, and the mathematically correct proportions surely make the pyramids a certainty in any seven wonders listing, new or old.

Well, I have a contender. I give you Battersea Power Station, South London, England.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Five Second Rule..

This is a picture of Escherichia coli, better known as E-Coli 0157. It exists in the stomachs of cattle and sheep, and is easily passed down the food chain by improper meat handling procedures. People can develop serious illness from this strain of E-Coli, and some die from its effects.

You don't want to know how many will fit onto a pinhead.

Always use a clean surface for food preparations. Make sure no items such as handbags, pet food dishes, shopping bags etc have been temporarily in touch with the surface. Tools like cutting boards and knives should be ready to be used to avoid opening drawers at the last minute. Grocery stores carry disposable cleaning towels and plastic gloves. Wiping surfaces with a damp cloth is not an answer. This action only serves to spread and enhance the bacteria reproduction rate. Avoid sponges or re-usable cloths for clean-up. Use disinfecting disposable towels for jobs like that.

If you drop food onto the floor, THROW IT OUT. E-Coli 0157 and its relatives have no concept of time. The Five Second Rule is a myth, as are the three, seven and ten second rules. Bacteria instantly attach to whatever surface is acceptable. There is NO safe period of time.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tongue twisters for the inebriated..

Things that are difficult to say when you're drunk..

1. Innovative - 2. Preliminary - 3. Proliferation - 4. Cinnamon

Things that are VERY difficult to say when you're drunk...

1. Specificity - 2. British Constitution - 3. Passive-aggressive disorder - 4. Transubstantiate

Things that are ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to say when you're drunk...

  1. Thanks, but I don't want to sleep with you.
  2. Nope, no more booze for me.
  3. Sorry, but you're not really my type
  4. No kebab for me, thank you.
  5. Good evening officer, isn't it lovely out tonight?
  6. I'm not interested in fighting you.
  7. Oh, I just couldn't - no one wants to hear me sing.
  8. Thank you, but I won't make any attempt to dance, I have no co-ordination. I'd hate to look like a fool.
  9. Where is the nearest toilet? I refuse to vomit in the street.
  10. I must be going home now as I have work in the morning.

Microsoft Vista and Office 2007..

At the time of writing, the public release of Microsoft's latest flagship operating system, Windows Vista, is but five days away. Best Buy and CompUSA stores are organizing Vista parties for the night of January 29/morning of January 30 in much the same style as happened for Windows 95. Other stores around the world may well follow suit.

Windows Vista is slick and good looking. Searches are faster, memory management is better, security is better, and graphics handling is impressive. I have been using Vista Ultimate since November 18 (beta testing prior to this date), and I can honestlty say that I do not want to go back to using Windows XP Pro.

Program compatibility is surprisingly good, as is native support for computer hardware. Microsoft have 19,500 device drivers lined up for release into Windows update to coincide with the public release. What this means is that there is a good chance that your existing peripheral devices like printers and scanners will still work (subject to the device manufacturers supplying drivers to Microsoft).

Hardware requirements are well in excess of Windows XP, depending upon which version of Vista one wants to run. Vista takes up more space, requires more memory, and a better graphics system than is found on older systems, but these computers may still be able to run Vista Basic. Most home users will probably opt for Vista Home Premium which now includes Media Center. For more on the editions available click on this link..

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/editions/default.mspx

Anybody wishing to upgrade a computer to Vista should click on this link..

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/upgradeadvisor/default.mspx

Question #1.. will you need Vista? Most probably not.

Question #2.. will you want Vista? Absolutely yes!


Microsoft Office 2007 will also be released. The four major components of MS Office get a major facelift with the advent of the 'Ribbon'. This is a context sensitive menu system that takes the place of the old drop down menus.

It takes a little time to get used to it, but what it does do is present many features that you may otherwise not have discovered in the older versions.

It has also been given a Vista 'look', and is very impressive. For more on MS Office 2007, go to this link..

http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/FX100647101033.aspx

There is an online Office demo where you can see the new features in action.

Happy computing..

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Greek National Dish..

Moussaka (Lamb-Eggplant Casserole)

This is a real Greek recipe
  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 1 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds lamb (beef or half and half can be substituted)
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine, optional
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups ricotta or farmers cheese
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Peel eggplants and slice about ½" thick, brown quickly in the oil
  2. Add 4 Tb butter and sauté the onions until golden in the same skillet
  3. Combine tomato paste with the wine, parley, cinnamon, salt and pepper
  4. Stir this mixture into the meat and simmer over low heat stirring frequently until all liquid is absorbed.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Preheat oven to 375º
  7. Make a white sauce by melting 8 Tbsp. butter and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk.
  8. Bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mix, stirring constantly, when thick and smooth set aside and cool slightly.
  9. Stir in beaten eggs, nutmeg and ricotta
  10. Grease a 11x16 casserole or round dish and sprinkle with crumbs
  11. Arrange in layers eggplant and meat sauce, sprinkle layers with Parmesan and bread crumsbs, pour the ricotta cheese sauce over the top and bake 1 hour until golden on top.

If you let it stand over night, the flavor improves when reheated.
Serve with crusty bread and the same wine you used in the dish.
This sounds a bit difficult, but is actually not so, and in any case worth the effort.




As promised..


Monday, January 22, 2007

For the romantic amongst you..

Something rare and true
Something bright and new
Could be ours forever

But love, love can not be planned
More you try to learn,
Less you understand
Words could not dispel
What we know so well
Only time will tell
Like a tree as it grows

We will reach for the sky
Like a breeze gently blows
We'll be free, you and I
For we know, time alone, holds the key

Love changed our lonely lives
Caught us by surprise
Opened up our eyes
Somehow we both knew
Something rare and true
Something bright and new
Could be ours forever

But love, love can not be planned
More you try to learn
Less you understand
Words could not dispel
What we know so well
Only time will tell
Only time alone will tell
Darling, only time will tell


Originator Andrew Lloyd Webber

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An offer too good to be true?

Spam e-mail is definitely becoming ever more prolific. Selling on the internet is big business for some, and the spammers have upped their game recently, devising new ways to beat spam filters. It appears to be working. I get anything up to 200 spam e-mails per day on just one of my e-mail accounts.

One of the methods used is the deliberate misspelling of product names. In this way, Viagra becomes Viaccgra, the result being that the spam filter does not recognize the word, but anybody opening the e-mail will know the referenece immediately.

Another way to sell something is to completely mislead the spam filters by advertizing perfectly good 'clean' products, but making the innocuous link to the order form point to some seedy porn site.

An example..

Check our price-list.

Special Offers:
MS Office 2003 PRO (1 CD Edition) + Acrobat 6 PRO Professional
109.95$
MS Office 2003 Professional (1 CD Edition) + OneNote 2003
109.95$
Microsoft(c) Office 2003 Professional (1 CD) + FrontPage 2003
109.95$

Come to site


The bold larger text is there for your personal safety, because that text in the original mail sent to me was actually a director to a hard porn website.

How do I know this? When I read e-mail, I use the mouse pointer much as one might use a finger on the page of a book. When the mouse pointer ran over the 'bold' text, it revealed the name of the website, which I can tell you now would not have shown you software prices or any order form.

Had I clicked on either link, I would have been taken to a hard porn site, and any attempt by me to close it down would have resulted in a barrage of popups, and some kind of trojan infection within my computer.

If an offer looks too good to be true, then assume that it is too good to be true and leave it well alone.

I use Microsoft Outlook 2007 as my mail client. Your preferred mail client may not do this, so take note.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I've learned that ..

  • the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
  • when you're in love, it shows.
  • just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.
  • having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
  • being kind is more important than being right.
  • you should never say no to a gift from a child.
  • I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
  • no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
  • sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
  • simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
  • life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
  • we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
  • money doesn't buy class.
  • it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
  • under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
  • the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?
  • to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
  • when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
  • love, not time, heals all wounds.
  • the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
  • everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
  • there's nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.
  • no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
  • life is tough, but I'm tougher.
  • opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
  • when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
  • I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.
  • one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
  • a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
  • I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.
  • when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
  • everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
  • it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.
  • the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Words written by Andy Rooney, a man who has the gift of saying so much with so few words..

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"It isn't our fault" ..

A recent headline (Jan 16, 2007).. 'Three Long Island, N.Y. teenage girls were arrested Tuesday on charges that they punched and kicked another girl and recorded the beating so they could broadcast it online.'

Hello?

This is just one more step towards anarchy by society in general. The parents blame the schools, the schools blame the parents, and the kids involved blame each other. Nobody takes responsibility. In a society where fame, if not always fortune, is regarded as something we can't do without, more of this kind of stuff will be seen.

More echoes..

A guy in an Atlanta, Georgia courthouse is escorted through the building by the smallest female police officer available, takes her gun, walks into a court, shooting the judge and court recorder, and then calmly walks out of the courthouse to continue his killing spree under the watchful eye of cctv cameras. Seconds later, all that can be heard echoing through the building are the words 'it wasn't me'.

A guy in Hungerford, England, living with his mother, having no known friends, recognized as being seriously introverted, is granted a firearms licence for multiple high power weapons. The licence is granted by the local Police. Having first killed his mother, he walks out of the house, and starts an unprecedented killing spree. The local Police station echoes the words 'It wasn't our fault, we didn't know'.

A mother has two young daughters, and a nine month old baby. One of the daughters has already been in hospital being treated for tapeworm, and the baby is admitted with nutritional problems. The mother lied to the doctors and nurses, but they had their own suspicions and reported the case to Social Services. SS couldn't find any problem. Yeah right. The baby eats French fries off of the floor with the family dog, climbs onto a pile of dirty laundry in a corner of the kitchen when tired, and SS can't find a problem. I knew the family and knew well what was going down there.

When I questioned SS about it, guess what I heard?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Self explanatory..

It wasn't my intention to write anything for this, but having looked at it a few times, I have decided to add a few thoughts to it.
Men do indeed place signs advising caution when working. We like to give our fellow man a good chance of survival. Not so our female counterparts, however. They move family room furniture around without telling us, polish tiled floors and then place loose mats over them, and decant cleaning materials into wrongly marked containers, and not a word said, not one hint of a warning.

So we enter the home carrying our document case, 'coffee to go' from the gas station and small bunch of flowers with which to greet our nearest and dearest, only to to discover that the mat in the hallway has taken on some of the properties of a 'magic' carpet. Having involuntarily deposited our coffee over the floor and broken half of the flowers, we walk into the family room for some sympathy, only to bump into the couch which has moved from one side of the room to 'just as you come in through the door'.

Still no sign of 'nearest and dearest', we make our way into the kitchen, carefully checking for 'magic' mats, with intent to get something to clear up the coffee. Now, any reasonable person would expect the bottle marked 'floor cleaner' to contain floor cleaner, but no. It now has the same compound in it used to give loose mats their magic properties, so rather than clean, we just spread the mess.

Men like signs. They remind us of what we are supposed to be doing and where. It is not a 'pride' issue, so much as a desire not to fall into the hole that we dug not five minutes ago. We see them as personal life preservers. We need them.

Decisions..

We all make decisions while traveling along Hell's Highway, and we make them in all good faith. The problem with any decision is the variables of which we are blissfully unaware. Well, maybe not unaware, but certainly variables that we hope will not arise.

Decision #1.. A friend, having arrived at the motorcycle club house, placed a chain through his front wheel and around the fork assembly. He had heard about thefts in the area and was eager to protect his investment. I told him that he would ride away from the club house with the chain still affixed.

Decision #2.. Three of us decided to go for a ride mid evening. We worked out a route and set off. I was ahead of the other motorcycle, and overshot a turn that I should have made. I pulled up, and we discussed the route.

Decision #3.. Rather than turn back, we decided to make a correction to the route further ahead. I never reached the turn. Approximately two miles further, a car being driven by a learner driver pulled out in front of me. There was no chance of me stopping or avoiding the car. The motorcycle ploughed into the side, throwing my friend clear over the top and me directly into the car. The two friends following on the second motorcycle saw it all, and kept telling themselves that I would get up just like I always had. Unfortunately, my injuries were way too severe. There were no deaths, but two of us came very, very close. For the longest time, I held unpleasant feelings toward the driver of the car, but in fairness, I had not died so had something for which to be thankful.

I have recovered from the trauma, if not completely from injuries sustained. Thinking back, I wondered what might have happened had I taken the other route. As bad as events were that evening, I did survive. It could be that I did take the 'lucky' route. Maybe if I had taken the other, I would not be here now telling you about it.

Now back to decision #1 and the outcome. The two friends on the following motorcycle stayed with us until the ambulance arrived, after which they raced back to the motorcycle club to tell the others what had happened. In panic, the friend with the 'chained' motorcycle forgot about the chain, and rode some thirty ot forty yards across a piece of grass and onto the road before realizing that the front wheel was not turning. It was the one piece of humor to come out of that fateful day.

Next time you make a decision, don't write it in stone. By all means, hope for the outcome that you desire, but if the variables look to be stacked against you, or start to stack up along the way, it is time to turn back or look for an exit route.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Italian National Dish..

PIZZA!

Pizza Capricciosa: This is based on the Pizzaria Giancarlo, outside Florence's Porta San Frediano.
  1. 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes
  2. 1/4 pound shredded mozzarella
  3. 4-6 green or black olives (stoned) sliced thinly
  4. 6 small mushrooms sliced thinly
  5. 1 link sweet Italian sausage (about 2 inches long), skinned and shredded
  6. 8 thin slices salamino piccante (pepperoni in the anglo-saxon world)
  7. 2 ounces thinly sliced ham, shredded
  8. 2 canned artichoke hearts, quartered

Spread the tomato sauce over the pizza, sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the sauce, drizzle with a few drops olive oil and bake. For the very best pizza, always use a thin base. There is little worse than eating a pizza that has the consistency of carpet.

You can of course use any kind of ingredient in place of the Salamino Piccante, ham and Italian sausage. Try it with anchovies, prawns and/or mussels.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The 'Surge'




They were expendable..





They still are..
The plan is to send a further 21,500 troops into Iraq. The Pentagon has removed the limit for the time that a soldier serves actively. This means that any soldier might well serve to the finish, whenever that may come, without a break. One has to wonder when we should expect a further lowering of enlistment age.


A message to all sides involved..
Look back at any confllict, any war. Try to find anything anywhere showing us that somebody won. How many more newspapers do we have to see carrying pictures like this one of Kim Phuc? (click on 'Kim's Story' in the 'links' section)


Do we have to wait until all of the countryside looks like this?

Instead of looking at other cultures and seeing a threat, look at other cultures and see what they have to offer that may just improve your own.

The Spanish scene..

There are periods in it's history that are as illustrious as any other, and there are times when one can only sit and ponder why people can be so cruel. The geography is absolutely unique, and much of it still retains old world charm. The northern part has more than a little in common with France while still retaining the Spanish look and feel, and the south embodies a great amount of Moorish culture, seen especially in the architecture.

In today's Spain, the people are friendly, the food is excellent, the weather is fantastic, and the pace of life is 'laid back'. Some of the country's coastal areas have been spoiled by excessive and rapid development, but the Spanish authorities are begininng to stop it in an attempt to save the country as a whole. For quality of life, it has to be one of the best places to live, if not the best.

Y viva España..

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Spanish Scene - Part Three.. Flamenco

Having escaped injury in the bull run, and watched a bull fought artistically while eating sugar coated almonds, what better than a quick drive into the heart of Andalucia for some paella, bread and alioli, and traditional southern Spanish song and dance.

Flamenco has changed over the years, picking up from Latin American and other influences along the way. The dance starts slowly, and speeds up as the dancer injects more feeling. The moves are many and follow a strict pattern, all artistic in their way.
Modern flamenco dancers still adhere to the artistic, but now inject their own temperament into the dance, which makes for a more fluid and fast performance.

Music for the dance is provided by one or more Flamenco guitars and, very often, words accompany the music. There is a considerable amount of Moorish culture in Spain, and I say this now because the songs are nothing like what is heard across the rest of Western Europe. One can hear the Eastern influence quite clearly.

A Spanish Scene - Part Two.. La Corrida

The Bullfight as a type of entertainment did not start in Spain. Many hundreds of years ago, Romans, Greeks and others from around the north eastern shores of the Mediterranean were watching men put there skills against wild animals as a source of amusement. Of course, we like to see ourselves as more civilized, and for the most part, society has banned such events. They are now relegated to disused warehouses where bloodthirsty gamblers bet on either a dog, cockerel, or whatever animal they can get to fight.

There was a time when horse mounted Bull fighters were the only ones in the ring, but King Felippe V banned the aristocrats from taking part in such sports on the premise that it was just not right for people of breeding and culture. The common man could not afford a horse, which is why the Matador now fights the bull on foot.

OK, back to the Bullfight. It works like this. The bull enters the ring and is baited, lanced and generally worn down a little by the Picadors. Then the Matadors underlings, the Toreros, further bait the bull, while the Matador gets a feel for the bull's general health and temper. In the last few minutes, the Matador enters the arena, does some artistic moves, finally thrusting a sword in between the bulls shoulder blades. The bull dies.

In the meantime, the audience has had great fun cheering on the brave men. Tourists from outside of Spain always appear to cheer the bull, a practice every bit as dangerous as being in the arena facing a bull. Copious amounts of sugar coated almonds are traditionally eaten by locals and tourists alike, and are sold in the same manner as ice cream in a movie theatre.

Time for 'curtain up' on the final scene.

Just one more thing. While you were buying leather products to take home from your vacation in Spain or Mexico, did you ever once wonder why there were so many stores selling leather stuff, and from where the leather originated? With 24,000 or so bulls appearing in Plaza de Toro's across Spain every year, there is a very good chance that a good few watched the bull die, from which your wallet, handbag or simple cigarette lighter pouch was made.

Sleep well..

A Spanish Scene - Part One.. Pamplona

Bull running is a highly dangerous 'sport', where participants regularly end up on the end of a horn. As with any sport involving bulls, one has to wonder whether it is brave to take part, or just plain dumb. Anyway, here is a picture of 'Rush hour', Pamplona style.

One can presently book a vacation to a Bull Run, and if this is how you see yourself having fun, do it soon, because the EU bureaucrats are trying to outlaw it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Four Seasons..

Vivaldi wrote four musical pieces, collectively known as 'The Four Seasons'. He also wrote accompanying sonnets to be read out as the music played. We are not able to provide sound here, so we will show one scene, and the four seasons which pass over it. For those of you who are not lucky enough to live in a temperate region, this is how the seasons look. The words (translated from the original Italian) at the side of each picture will help you to imagine what it is like to stand in each scene. We will start with Spring, passing through Summer, Autumn (Fall), and finally Winter.

"Springtime is upon us. The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes. Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven, Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more. On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him. Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring."

"Under a hard Season, fired up by the Sun Languishes man, languishes the flock and burns the pine We hear the cuckoo's voice; then sweet songs of the turtledove and finch are heard. Soft breezes stir the air... but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearing violent storms and his fate. The fear of lightning and fierce thunder Robs his tired limbs of rest As gnats and flies buzz furiously around. Alas, his fears were justified The Heavens thunders and roar and majestically Cuts the head off the wheat and damages the grain."

"Celebrates the peasant, with songs and dances, The pleasure of a bountiful harvest. And fired up by Bacchus' liquor, many end their revelry in sleep. Everyone is made to forget their cares and to sing and dance By the air which is tempered with pleasure And (by) the season that invites so many, many Out of their sweetest slumber to fine enjoyment The hunters emerge at the new dawn, And with horns and dogs and guns depart upon their hunting The beast flees and they follow its trail; Terrified and tired of the great noise Of guns and dogs, the beast, wounded, threatens Languidly to flee, but harried, dies."

"Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds; running to and fro to stamp one's icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill. To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain. We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously, for fear of tripping and falling. Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and, rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up. We feel the chill north winds course through the home despite the locked and bolted doors...this is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We say 'pphhtttt' to Government Health Warnings..

Looking at a computer monitor all day long is not harmful in any way, as can clearly be seen from the mug shot of this full time 'blog writer'.. note, if you will, the look of wide eyed innocence and cheerful countenance.. definitely the look of a 'blogger' who considers the job well done..

Compare the above with an artist's impression of a person having tried to start his lawnmower at the beginning of Spring, and it soon becomes obvious that sitting inside, away from sunlight and any interaction with real people, is more beneficial than being outside in fresh air.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Quite the display..

The Blue Indian Peacock is a bird that many will have seen during visits to parks, gardens and stately homes throughout the world. Their claim to fame is two-fold.

The 'train' (it is not a tail) displays as a large 'fan', and the bird has a powerful, strident call. It is a native of the Indian sub-continent and Sri Lanka but has been kept as either ornamentation or food source on all continents except for Antarctica.

There is also a Green Peacock, native to Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, Malaya and Java, said to have an even more colorful train than the better known Blue. Blue and Green are not the only variants. White peacocks are a mutation of the Indian Blue, and Pied Peacocks are a hybrid of the Blue and Green Peacocks. Whatever the color, one has to say that the display put on by these members of the pheasant family is a sight to behold.

Some days, this is as good as it is going to get..


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bridges, Bridges, Bridges..

The Øresund Bridge-Tunnel is 15,905 metres long, and connects Malmo, Sweden, to Copenhagen, Denmark. The bridge is 7845 metres, Peberholm (Pepper Islet, so called because the islet to the right is called Saltholm), which connects the bridge to the tunnel is 4,055 metres, and the tunnel including the collector points and toll booths is 4,050 metres. The Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel crosses the James River, Virginia, connecting Newport News and Suffolk, and comprises of a curved 3.2 mile bridge section connecting to a 4,800ft tunnel. Aerial photos of this bridge-tunnel have been mistakenly reported as the Oresund Bridge-Tunnel, but as one can clearly see, the two constructions are quite different.
The Water Bridge close by the German city of Magdeburg ties the Elbe-Havel canal to the important Mittelland canal, which leads to the country’s industrial Ruhr Valley. At 918 metres in length, it is Europe’s largest bridge of it’s kind.

Marmite..

An unholy coloring and salty, harsh taste places Marmite at the top of the 'acquired taste' list. More British than fish and chips, Marmite is a by-product of beer brewing, essentially yeast extract and full of vitamin B. It really is good for you, and I should know. I was a 'Marmite' baby, brought up on the stuff. Of course, non-Brits never quite know what to do with it, so here are a couple of hints.

Toast some good quality white bread (it has to be always white), butter it while still hot, and then spread some Marmite very thinly across the toast. Now cut it up into strips, 3/4in wide, and you have the British delicacy known as Marmite Soldiers, a variation on plain Toast Soldiers, ideal for dipping into a soft boiled egg.

For those of you who like potato chip sandwiches, another Brit delicacy, again use white bread and real butter (salted), spread Marmite thinly, and add plain potato chips as required. Now 'sandwich' the Marmite, butter and potato chips between another piece of buttered white bread.

Marmite is an accredited 'Vegetarian' product, and also approved as a Kosher product, even though not strictly 100% Kosher.




Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy Birthday..


Our best wishes to you if your birthday is today, and may you have many many more to come, and live in happiness and contentment..

your blogwriter

Authors' Quote Of The Day..

Forgiveness is the final form of love

Friday, January 05, 2007

To Be or Not To Be..

If one was to sit the average person in front of a computer, and ask them to produce a summer scene using Windows Paint, this is the kind of result that one might see.

Not exactly a 'Constable' is it. With such rudimentary, simple tools in a Windows freebie program, who would expect more? If you are wondering, it is a likeness, albeit a vague likeness, of a spider descending from a tree with a view to taking a walk through the pretty flowers.


OK, now take a look at this, also produced using exactly the same program. Hard to believe that it could possible. The detail is amazing. Obviously, it took a while, and the artist was extremely skillful.


Next time you come across Windows Paint, remember this picture, and remember that it is not just a freebie 'kids stuff' program.

Artist of the canal scene - 'Diamonster'

Authors' Quote Of The Day..


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I am not sure about the former.

ALBERT EINSTEIN

Just Because It Is Free..

.. doesn't mean that you just have to download it..

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Disaster Waiting To Happen..

Once upon a time, a proud sea Captain of the 'White Star' Line steered what was, at the time, the world's largest steam ship across the North Atlantic Ocean.

The ship struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. (ship's time) on Sunday evening April 14, 1912, and sank two hours and forty minutes later, after breaking into two pieces, at 2:20 a.m. Monday morning April 15.

The Captain was under pressure to perform well for the ship's owners. It was traveling too fast, taking into account sea conditions (icebergs). He elected NOT to radio for help immediately.

Rumor has it that the lowest class of travelers were actually locked in on their appointed decks such that the better classes could get off of the ship more safely.

It later transpired that materials below the original specification had been used to cheapen and speed up constructionof the ship.

RMS Titanic did NOT run into a small piece of ice showing above the surface. It ran into an iceberg, a photo of which is included here (not the actual iceberg)


Little Known Interesting and Amazing Facts..

Alaska - More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.

Amazon - The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20 percent of the world's oxygen supply.

The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that more than one hundred miles at sea, off the mouth of the river one can dip fresh water out of the ocean. The volume of water in the Amazon River is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.

Antarctica - Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents seventy percent of all the fresh water in the world. As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches. Although covered with ice (all but 0.4 percent of it), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.

Brazi - Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.

Canada - Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village.

Chicago - Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.

Detroit - Detroit Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M - 1, named so because it was the first paved road anywhere.

Damascus - Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.

Istanbul - Istanbul, Turkey is the only city in the world located on two continents.

Los Angeles - Los Angeles's full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula and can be abbreviated to3.63 percent of its size: L.A.

New York City - The term "The Big Apple" was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930's who used the slang expression "apple" for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time ~ The Big Apple. There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland, more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy, and more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness ~ 28. Percentage of North America that is wilderness ~ 38.

Ohio - There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio ~ every one is man-made.

Pitcairn Island - The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. miles/4,53 sq. km.

Rome - The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, Italy in 133 B.C. There is a city called Rome on every continent.

Siberia - Siberia contains more than 25 percent of the world's forests.

S.M.O.M. - The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.). It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and as of 2001 has a population of 80, 20 less people than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity under international law, just as the Vatican is.

Sahara Desert - In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for ten years.

Spain - Spain literally means 'the land of rabbits.'

St. Paul, Minnesota - St. Paul, Minnesota was originally called Pigs Eye after a man named Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant who set up the first business there.

Roads - Chances that a road is unpaved in the USA 1 percent. Chances that a road is unpaved in Canada 75 percent.

Texas - The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas. It is as deep as 20 empire state buildings but only 3 inches wide.

United States - The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one-mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

Home Sweet Home..

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And in the morning when I wake,
help me Lord, the path of love to take.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Did I read that sign right?

TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW

In a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT

In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

In an office:
AFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD

Outside a second-hand shop:
WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Notice in health food shop window:
CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

Spotted in a safari park:
ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR

Seen during a conference:
FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR

Notice in a farmer's field:
THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.

Notice in a farmer's field:
THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN RUN ACROSS THIS FIELD IN 55 SECONDS. THE BULL CAN RUN IT IN 7 SECONDS.

Message on a leaflet:
IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS

On a repair shop door:
WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK)

Monday, January 01, 2007

My New Year Resolution..

.. is to keep faith with the prediction..

A Prediction..

.. that each day passing will bring me one day nearer to my goal..

A Mohawk Blessing..

Aiá:wen's Ahiaia'taté:riste Ne Shonkwa'iatison Aesata'karí:teke,
Aiesatshennonní:hake,
Tánon Aión:nise' Ó:ni Aiesatenro'seraká:teke


May The Great Spirit Bless You With Health, Happiness, And Enduring Friendship

Que Le Grande Esprit, Vous Accorde De La Santé, De La Joie Et De L'amitie Profonde