Monday, 30 March 2009

"Take It Away" - Paul McCartney, 1982

On the radio while on the way into Oxford this morning, we heard an interview with the Dean of St Albans Cathedral about the origins of the tasty Hot Cross Bun...and its original connection to the Easter season.

If you read the Daily Telegraph article I linked in the above sentence, you'll see that the Very Reverend wonders if sales of the modern version of the bun with the cross on top should be limited to only the Easter period. That, he ponders, might make us think more about the originals of the design on top of the bun.

Given the non-separation of church and state here in Britain - and of course I mean the Church of England - plus the government's propensity to legislate all sorts of silly things, I'm sure we'll soon discover that Tesco, Sainsbury's, etc. won't be allowed to sell them all year round anymore. What a shame, too.


Sunday, 29 March 2009

"School of Brains and Brawn" - from the "Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ova" soundtrack, 2001

What a thrill today to see the newly-formed Brawn Racing Team F1 cars win first and second in today's first F1 race of the season, after starting in exactly the same positions in the first row of the grid! And Lewis Hamilton eventually managed to be declared the third-place finisher, despite not knowing that in time to appear with Jenson Button and Rubens Barichello on the podium immediately after the race.

Here's a link to the BBC's online F1 coverage.

What a fabulous start for a racing team that's risen out of the ashes of the former Honda F1 team. And they are our neighbors too, as they are based in nearby Brackley.

We just can't wait to see what the rest of this F1 season will bring!

And I was glad to see F1 television coverage return to the BBC. But did why oh why did they have to bring Martin Brundle over from ITV? Argh...


Saturday, 21 March 2009

"Deep in the Grass" - Saul Stokes, 1997

One of my favorite signs of spring in Britain is the appearance of various kinds of early-spring flowers. Among them are the primrose - here's a photo of some. It's a plant I'd heard of before, when I lived in the States. But I had never before seen them in abundance as I do here. And the people who previously lived in our house obviously were big fans, because they are all over our garden in the spring.

This afternoon, while doing a little work in the our back garden, I noticed that a lot of little primrose plants are growing in the midst of our small amount of lawn back there. We hadn't noticed them from the house, because they aren't blooming yet. We're used to dealing with moss and weeds in the grass. But primrose plants?

The primose in the lawn seem to be in an arc around one side of our bird table. You don't suppose we've been feeding our birds primose seeds throughout the winter, do you?

If the birds' feathers are especially brightly-colored this year, I guess we'll know! ;-)


Thursday, 19 March 2009

"Don't Forget to Remember" - Bee Gees, 1969

Here's a little reminder to my American friends living in Britain.

Sunday is Mother's Day - or Mothering Sunday, as I often hear it called - here in Britain. Yes, I know it's only March. But in the UK, Mother's Day isn't in May. It's in March. And this year, it's March 22nd.

That's where the reminder comes in.

When May approaches and my Americans friends over here head for their local British card store, you'll be sad to learn that the Mother's Day cards aren't any longer available. So if you want any, you'll need to buy them between now and this Sunday.

And if you're like me, you'll then have to remember where you've put them, come May...!


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"Celluloid Heroes" - Kinks, 1972

Tonight, here in the UK (because we're a bit behind the US), we will see the final episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" featuring Gil Grissom as a regular character. I'm really heartbroken.

Throughout my life, I have had favorite male TV heroes. To me, they were all very special men. I've been sitting here this evening, trying to compile a list. Here it is, although it probably isn't as complete as it would be if I'd spent more time on it...

Ben Cartwright - "Bonanza"
Dr. Leonard McCoy - "Star Trek"
Frank Furillo - "Hill Street Blues"
Dr. Donald Westphall - "St. Elsewhere"
Jean-Luc Picard - "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

And since the fall of 2000, Gil Grissom has been added to that distinguished list. Perhaps he even sits at the top.

I'm really gutted that William Petersen's character is leaving the series. The place just won't be the same without him.


Monday, 16 March 2009

"That's Amore" - Dean Martin, 1953

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie - that's Pyongyang???

Who would have thought that I would ever be Googling a combination of "Kim Jong-il" and "pizza"? But I just have, to find an article to link here, after hearing a short news item on the radio this morning.

And after doing a bit more research, it seems that the connection between the North Korean dictator and pizza isn't new, either. How could I have possibly missed this?

Somehow, though, I doubt that most hungry North Koreans will ever get the chance to choose between thick versus thin-crust...or select from a variety of toppings. That's the part of this story that isn't amusing at all.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

"Don't Slow Down" - Mr. Mister, 1985

One of the highlights of British sport is going on this week - the Cheltenham Festival, at the Cheltenham racecourse in Gloucestershire.

Now, I'm not a great fan of horse-y things. But it's hard to avoid all of the reports about events at Cheltenham on sports reports this week.

If you look at the schedule of events on the website I've linked above, you'll see that one of the events today is called the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase.

With all due respect to the late Queen Mother, you can only imagine what I'm thinking when I hear the sports reporters talk about the "Queen Mother's chase" coming up today at Cheltenham.

Cue up that Monty Python theme music!


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

"Gathering Stones" - Roseanna Vitro, 1993

I have John to thank for this one.

He spotted a report on the BBC's website called "Zoo Chimp 'Planned' Stone Attacks". It's a really fascinating story!

Although experts suspect that many animals have a great amount of intelligence, the idea of "planning" for future events was thought to be only in the domain of us humans.

Perhaps not...


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

"21 Reasons (The Birthday Song)" - Mullet, 2003

Today is my brother's birthday. It's a BIG one. And it's NOT 21, either!

I hope you have a terrific day, Larry. I'm sorry we can't be with you in Austin.


Monday, 2 March 2009

"Unfortunate Choice of Words" - Rob Clarkson, 2005

When you're the owner of a small business, you need to take care when you give your venture a name. Take the case of a popular two-year-old cafe on Texas Highway 71, near Bastrop.

Last Saturday, a tree falling onto a power line sparked a serious wild fire between Bastrop and nearby Smithville. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the 1200-acre fire has so far consumed 23 homes and 12 businesses. Included in those businesses destroyed was the Bastrop-area cafe Luckily, have been no deaths reported so far.

But back to the cafe. The owners had chosen to name it the Wild Fire Cafe. Unfortunate choice of words, wasn't it?


Sunday, 1 March 2009

"Change of One" - Spirit Drummers, 2000

John and I came up with a game this weekend. Here's how it works.

Take a movie title. Change only ONE letter within the title. And the resulting word, after the letter change, must be a real word.

Examples? The first one I came up was: "The Bribe of Frankenstein". And how about the film about abnormal weather: "One Blew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

John came up with a couple of classics. He remembered that Bruce Willis once made a gardening thriller called "Dig Hard". And then there was Hitchcock's only boring film - the one about London Tube drivers - called "The 39 Stops"!

We welcome other submissions, and I'm SURE you can come up with some good ones!