Friday, 31 August 2007

"Candle in the Wind 1997" - Elton John, 1997

Here's a link to some of the BBC's coverage of the 10th anniversary of Diana's death.

I just can't believe it's been 10 years...


Thursday, 30 August 2007

"I Fought the Law" - Bobby Fuller Four, 1965

I heard something on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast again this morning that's worth a blog entry.

Many union prison guards in England staged a one-day strike yesterday. This morning on the show, one of the topics of discussion was the impact of that strike.

A legal expert was asked whether the strike was illegal. He said that it wasn't illegal but was unlawful. So what, asked Nicky Campbell, is the difference? (I was wondering precisely the same thing, so I appreciated Nicky's having asked the question.)

Illegal, according the guy being interviewed, means a criminal act. Unlawful is something that goes against a contractual obligation, etc., but isn't a criminal act.

Do we have any US legal experts out there? Would you say that the American definitions of those terms would be the same...or is this a British thing?

Words...don't they just drive you crazy sometimes? But how we love them all the same!


Wednesday, 29 August 2007

"Free Nelson Mandela" - The Special A.K.A., 1984

I wish I had been in London today. Nelson Mandela was there, as a new statue of him was unveiled in Parliament Square. Here's the BBC's coverage.

Mandela is a major hero of mine. I'm thrilled about the statue!
And while I'm on a South Africa theme, John has posted his photos from our Cape Town trip on Smugmug, and here's the link. I haven't had the chance to go through mine yet. But John's are better anyway; he took a more serious camera with him, and he also had time to play "tourist" that I didn't have. You'll enjoy them, so do take a look.
One more item -- although we're some time away from getting a Westie puppy, John and I have at least made a decision. If he's a "he", we've decided that his name is going to be Nelson.

That could be for Mandela or for the British Lord. It could be for one of the the musical trio -- Ricky, Bill and/or Willie. It could be for the Brazilian Formula 1 driver Piquet. Or I suppose it could be for Mr. Eddy, although I so dislike his old movies!

We haven't decided that part yet!


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

"Say What You Mean" - Christopher Russell, 2002

Sometimes "business speak" just drives me crazy. Why do people in the business world have to come up with (what they think are) cool terms for everything? Why can't they just say what they mean in the first place?

Here's an example, from the news this morning on the BBC.

Here in the UK, we're hearing about the problems with the subprime mortgage market in the US. It's having an effect on the stock market here, and it appears that even some of the UK banks are involved.

During a report on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast this morning about one of the UK banks, a so-called industry expert used the term "impaired mortgages" rather than subprime or high-risk mortgages.

Impaired? Oh, come on....enough, already!


Friday, 24 August 2007

"Bus Stop" - Hollies, 1966

In our local village, there has been a bus shelter for passengers on buses heading north for as long as I've lived here. But if you wanted to go south to Oxford, there was just an old bench to sit on while you waited. So you were just out of luck if the weather was bad. And it rains a lot here.

Well, recently the bench disappeared. I assume there's to be a new bus shelter built. But in the meantime, here's what has masqueraded as a bus stop if you wanted to take a southbound bus. I think the "England" flag is an especially luxurious touch...

(Click on the image for a full-sized version.)

Impressive, isn't it?

John took that photo on Wednesday. But this morning, as I walked through the village between home and the dentist's office, I noticed that the garden-chairs setup was gone. There's nothing at all there now. I hope that means the new passenger facility will soon be up and installed.

I'd be concerned that the homemade bus stop seating had been stolen except that it's located right across the road from the village's storefront police station!


Monday, 20 August 2007

"Africa" - Bakithi Kumalo, 2006

Hello Everybody!

Since Saturday morning the 11th, I have been in Cape Town, South Africa for my annual training trip there. Luckily for me, this year John was able to go with me! We had a terrific time, and neither of us really wanted to leave South Africa on Saturday night.

I'm very sorry to have not blogged from Cape Town, but my schedule was very busy...between working all day and trying to enjoy the free time with John after working hours.

The venue for the 5 days of courses was the Radisson SAS Waterfront Hotel, on Granger Bay (which is on the Atlantic coast), and we had a room there with a seaside view. I believe it is one of the most beautiful views from a room that I've ever experienced. The food in Cape Town is fantastic -- especially for seafood lovers like me. The people there are warm, friendly and very funny. The pace of life is nice and relaxed. And my students there? Unquestionably, the South African students are the most eager learners that I have the privilege to work with, anywhere in the world.

So today, John and I are resting up from the long flight back. We got home midday yesterday.

I'm going to try to get my photos posted on my Smugmug site within the next few days, and John will, too. And he took loads more photos than I did! When I/we do, I'll put a link here so that all of you can share the trip with us.

Meanwhile, as a little preview, here's the view of the Atlantic from our room at the Radisson Hotel, on Granger Bay.

(Click on the photo for a full-sized version.)

I've come to realize that Cape Town has become one of my favorite places in the world!


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Wednesday, 8 August 2007

"Goodbye New York" - Shakes, 2005

I missed an important anniversary yesterday. I saw it on my calendar just this morning.

14 years ago, on the 7th of August 1993, I moved away from Manhattan to return to Houston. It was one of the saddest days of my life, and I remember so many details of the day just like it happened yesterday.

Here's where I was living all of the time I was in New York City. It's also where this photo of me and Mac was taken by my friend Cathy, out on the apartment's balcony.

But as many things in life do, that relocation led -- eventually -- to some really wonderful surprises!


Tuesday, 7 August 2007

"Interview" - Kasabian, 2006

Surprise, surprise -- my boss (and long-time friend) made the "New York Times" today!

Here is the link to the article in the Frequent Flier column in today's Business section. You'll probably have to register to see it (if you haven't already)...but personally I don't mind registering with them, as the online version of the paper is such a great source of information.

The article captures Clara's sense of humor very faithfully!


Saturday, 4 August 2007

"Magic Bus" - Who, 1968

Things got a little hectic once I got home from my London trip earlier in the week, and I really haven't had a sec to blog until today. So I apologize for the delay in telling a little story. Hopefully, it'll be worth the wait!

Remember that I posted some photos back on the 31st, taken from my hotel in Greenwich? One of them was a photo of a double-decker bus. I've put a small copy of that same photo here on this blog item.

Well, I also made that same bus photo the "wallpaper" on my work laptop on Tuesday night. I change the background image for the Windows desktop from time to time, just for variety. I liked the colorful image of the London bus.

As I was setting up for Wednesday's training class, one of the catering staff (whose name is also Janet, by the way) glanced up at the projection screen just as my laptop's image popped up. And it was my laptop's Window's desktop showing on the screen, as I hadn't yet opened the PowerPoint presentation. She suddenly said, "Hey -- is that a 177? It IS a 177! That's my bus!!! You have a photo of MY BUS on your laptop!"

She asked me where I'd taken the photo. I explained that the bus was going down Greenwich High Road Tuesday evening, outside my hotel window, when I took the photo. Janet asked what time I'd taken it, and then she strained her eyes to see if she might be on it. But she didn't think so.

Meanwhile, the other catering woman came into the training room about this time. She exclaimed, "What a good photo of a bus!" She seemed to stop to think a second, and then she added, "Why did you take that picture anyway? Why did you take a photo of JUST a bus?" And with that question, Janet once again said, very loudly, "That's MY bus! I could have been on that bus!"

Anyway, it was a very funny start for the day. Who knew that my bus photo was going to generate such an amusing reaction within the catering staff at the venue!

This is the same Canary Wharf venue where I've previously had such great views of the Millennium Dome, the Thames Barrier, etc. During Wednesday's lunch break, I realized that one of the rooms on the west side of the building was unoccupied. I've never been able to snap any photos from that side of the building before, so here are three of the ones I took at that time...and you can click on any of them for a full-sized version.

Looking west, from the 33rd Floor of the Citigroup Building in London's Canary Wharf, taken at full wide-angle.

Zooming in, if you look closely you can see London landmarks like the London Eye (at least the top of it) and Tower Bridge.

And still zooming and shifting the view a little more to the north, you can see some more of the City of London and West End landmarks. It's also interesting to get such a great view of the traffic up and down the Thames.