Tuesday, 28 June 2005

"Now or Later" - Dionne Farris, 1994

Continuing yesterday's discussion of ID cards in Britain...

I'm already accustomed to carrying ID around with me, actually. If you think about it, Americans carry ID all the time -- by way of their drivers licenses. Even those who don't drive will often have some sort of photo ID that they carry with them. I know that people in New York City do, for example.

In Britain, you don't have to carry your "driving licence" around with you. I do, because it's proof of my residency. (Don't ask me to go into the story of how complicated it was to prove identity and residency to even get that licence last year!) Also, I do because it's habit. I'm used to carrying proof of my ability to drive around with me, whether I'm driving or not.

I was very surprised to find out that in Britain, if requested for your driving licence, all you have to do is show up at a police station within something like 7 days and show it to them at that time. You do not have to carry it with you when you're driving.

Isn't that interesting?

No wonder people here in the UK are troubled by the thought of having to carry an ID card all the time!


Listening To: "What I Really Mean", Robert Earl Keen

Monday, 27 June 2005

"You Don't Know My Name" - Alicia Keys, 2003

Before anything else today, let me direct all of you to "50 Fun Things To Do With Your iPod". (Thanks to a favorite blog, Finding Blanche, for the suggestion!)

OK...now, on to today's thoughts...

ID cards.

They've become a big issue here in the UK. I suspect, given what I heard on the news this morning, that they might be approved in Parliament this week.
The BBC's website has an interesting article about the proposed cards.

Personally I don't have a strong objection. Perhaps I have too much faith in how a government will choose to use the information?


Listening to: "Set Yourself On Fire" - Stars (another CD from Calgary)

Thursday, 23 June 2005

"Bye, Bye Baby" - Big Brother and the Holding Company, 1967

Sorry I haven't written much this week. I have some type of "flu". High fever -- aches & pains -- awful sore throat -- and an inability to stay awake. I've slept most of the past two days. But I'm feeling better this evening. And there's something I feel compelled to write about.

Tim Henman. That model of British sports heroism and strength. Perhaps I'm being unfair. I'm sure that Oxfordshire's own Timmy is trying his best. But I'm just not a fan of his. God bless him and his wimpy fist-in-the-air gesture. He seems unnatural when he tries to be macho. It's just not his "thang".

Tim lost in the second round of
Wimbledon today...to a Russian named Dmitry Tursunov. Tim played very badly near the end of the match, and the Russian showed a lot of class and resolve. The British crowd was devastated. I can certainly understand why. Maybe next year, then, Tim...yet again?????

But meanwhile, I didn't see it on TV myself, but I'm just reading that 18-year-old Andy Murray has defeated 14th seed Radek Stepanek in today's second round. That's terrific! There's still hope for British tennis in the future.


(Sorry...I haven't been listening to anything these past few days.)

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

"Counting Blue Cars" - Dishwalla, 1996

I'm back from Canada. At least my body is. I'm not sure that my brain has rejoined me in the same time zone yet.

John met me at Heathrow late Sunday morning, and was I ever glad to see him there! It was Sunday afternoon before we got back to my house. I napped for awhile, hoping to be awake enough to enjoy the live coverage on ITV of the Formula 1 race at Indy. I didn't have bothered. Because of a fiasco involving Michelin tires and the Indy course, only the three teams running Bridgestone tires started the race. That meant there were only 6 cars racing. What a disappointment for all the fans -- many who had spent a lot of money and traveled a long way to see the race. I felt sorry for them. I certainly understood the safety concerns of the racing teams, though. But what a mess. And what bad PR for F1 racing in the US.

And then, a few minutes ago, I discovered an automotive connection to today's date as well. It's the 21st of June 2005. I just noticed in my Palm's calendar that today is the 5th anniversary of the day that my fabulous Denim Blue 2000 Audi TT was hit by that stupid, irresponsible driver in a Houston intersection. He rammed into my TT in the driver's door at about 40 mph. If I hadn't been in a strong car with a side airbag, I'm not sure I'd be here today. "Fritz", as I had named my TT, saved my life...but sacrificed his in the process. I still smile any time I see a Denim Blue TT on the roads here in Britain. I'm sure I always will. I loved that car.


Listening To: "All Of Our Names", Sarah Harmer (just bought in Calgary)

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Photo: Canadian Rockies from the Calgary Tower

Here's a view of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, taken from the Calgary Tower, downtown Calgary. I must admit that this photo wasn't taken today but was taken during my previous trip to Calgary, last November. I wanted to share it anyway...I'm sure the view hasn't changed that much! (Click on the photo for a larger image.) Posted by Hello

Photo: Stephens Avenue, Calgary

Stephens Avenue, downtown Calgary, with its historic buildings. (Click on the photo for a larger image.) Posted by Hello

Photo: Mural, Downtown Calgary

This beautiful mural in downtown Calgary shows the importance of the energy industry to the city...and to the province of Alberta as a whole. (Click on the photo for a larger image.)Posted by Hello

Sunday, 12 June 2005

"Last Train to San Anton" - Peter Green, 1978

As many of you know, I'm in Calgary, Canada, for the week. I'm teaching courses for the next 5 days here. I've gotten a surprise bonus, being in Canada this week. I'd completely forgotten that the NBA Finals are going on! The San Antonio Spurs are up against the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons were 2004 NBA Champions.

One of the things I miss most now that I live outside the US is basketball...pro and college. I can occasionally see a game on Britain's Channel 5 in the middle of the night in the UK, but I often forget to record them. I did my best to follow this year's playoffs on the NBA's website, nba.com. But it's NOT the same as watching in the US used to be. I watched as many games as I could "live" during the playoffs, when I lived in the US, and I always caught every game of the NBA Finals. It was a sports highlight of the year for me...every year!

I just LOVE hoops!

So tonight Calgary time, I'm watching Game 2 of the NBA Finals from San Antonio. It's being beamed into Canada from the ABC TV affiliate from Spokane, Washington. The Spurs won Game 1. And as I write, they are well ahead in this game also. I hardly know any of the Spurs players anymore, though. I've followed Tim Duncan's career in San Antonio since he joined the Spurs. But the only other Spur I know is Robert Horry. How incredible to be seeing him play again! He was an important player for the Houston Rockets during their two championship seasons back in the mid-90's. I had no idea that Horry was playing for a Texas team again.

And who is Manu Ginobili, San Antonio's guard? I read on the Spurs official website that he's from Argentina. He's good! REALLY good.

Also, I didn't know anything about San Antonio's Bruce Bowen until tonight. He's another outstanding player, and he has a fabulous "American dream" life story as well. I've tried to find a link to a comprehensive bio of Bowen, but I can't. But I'll pass along that apparently his mother was a crack addict, and his father was an alcoholic. He was one of those kids who incredibly had the fortitude and luck to make something of himself. I'm impressed.

What a treat this is for me! And it's completely unexpected!


Saturday, 11 June 2005

Photo: Business Trip -- Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I thought I'd post a quick photo from my hotel room in Calgary this evening...featuring the Eau Claire Market area of downtown Calgary. I'm having to switch hotels tomorrow (too many conventions in town at the same time, so I couldn't stay in the same hotel for all 7 nights, unfortunately...), so perhaps I'll be posting another view or two while I'm here this week! (Click on the photo for a larger view.)Posted by Hello

Friday, 10 June 2005

"She Blinded Me With Science" - Thomas Dolby, 1982

OK. I admit it. I've sunk to new lows. I'm watching the latest "Big Brother"!

Am I so bored that I have nothing else to do? No. Am I watching because so many others in Britain are watching? No. Am I enjoying being a voyeur? Hmmm...maybe. Am I taking pleasure in realizing how very normal I am compared to the people stuck in the Big Brother house in Borehamwood? ABSOLUTELY!

It's partially John's fault, too!

What am I going to do while I'm in Canada all next week? I guess I'll be stuck with merely following the exploits of the remaining 10 housemates on the web. (No, I'm not so hooked that I'm subscribing to text updates from Channel 4!) Well, at least I'll be able to watch the occasional "Jim Lehrer News Hour" on TV in Calgary, beamed north from the PBS station in the state of Washington. That's so much more than an equal trade-off!

Now I'm ashamed I even wrote this blog entry. Oh...well...what the heck...!!!


Listening To: Coldplay, "X & Y"

Thursday, 9 June 2005

Photo: Logo from Cloudcroft Online

Click here to visit my favorite place in the world! (Sorry to have not posted in a few days. I hope a virtual visit to Cloudcroft, New Mexico will entertain my readers in the meantime!) Posted by Hello

Friday, 3 June 2005

"Don't You Feel Small" - Moody Blues, 1970

Posted by Hello

Thursday, 2 June 2005

"Out Here In The Middle" - Robert Earl Keen, 2003

Perhaps my readers would be interested in learning a bit more about the part of the world where I'm now living. (I know Aunt Blanche will be -- she's making her first trip to the UK to see us next month!)

Take a look at this interesting section of BBC Oxford's website. You'll learn all sorts of interesting factoids about Oxfordshire.

You might also enjoy reading a bit about some of the people (past and present) with connections to Oxfordshire. I understand that last year I missed seeing Rowan Atkinson at Oxford Audi by only a few minutes. What a shame! (The same thing happened to me twice while I was living in New York City -- I missed both John Cleese and Stevie Wonder by only a matter of minutes, in each case!)


Listening To: Missy Higgins, "The Sound of White"

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

"Can't Turn Back The Years" - Phil Collins, 1993

There are two big stories in today's news that are making me feel very old.

The first is about "Live 8", coming up next month. I just cannot believe that the original "Live Aid" concert was 20 years ago. I'll never forget getting introduced to artists like Alison Moyet and Nik Kershaw while watching the UK portion of the "Live Aid" concert back in 1985, from my Houston living room. And who could forget Phil Collins' quick transatlantic trip in order for him to perform in both London and Philly in the same day!

The other story today is the identify of "Deep Throat", after all these years! I always figured it would likely be somebody I'd heard of before, but it wasn't. I think it's very cool that this mystery is finally solved...although many of the people who were important in my life when the scandal of "Watergate" originally broke are no longer around to share this story with me. That's too bad. It would really have been fun to discuss this revelation with them.

Now if we could only find out what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, perhaps life would be complete! And maybe he knows what has happened to all of my missing socks and sunglasses and umbrellas through the years...


Listening To: Josh Rouse, "Nashville"