captive in a locked mind
camera behind locked doors
the empty vodka bottle is unkind
imagination’s running distant shores
inhabited in gloom and blackness defined
To travel is to take a journey into yourself.
Doing a little research on something else, I was bored enough to read a narrow-minded American’s opinion of visit to England, which pissed me off somewhat. Here are some real facts about Americans;
64% of Americans do not own a passport.
In states such as; Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina only about 25% of US citizens own a valid passport.
When most Americans visit another country it’s to either Mexico or Canada.
Annually, less than 5% of Americans travel overseas.
More than half of all Americans have never been outside of America.
Most Americans have not been to more than 5 US states.
Many Americans have never been more than 100 miles from where they were born.
The commonest complaints of Americans visiting England are;
- ‘the bacon is terrible…’
- ‘few ethnicities are represented in London cuisine…’
- ‘there is no Mexican or Latin American food in Britain…’
- ‘British people are cold and hard to befriend…’
- ‘the London subway is unreliable…’
- ‘the British are obsessed with the Queen and Royal Family…’
- ‘it always rains in England…’
- ‘the English drive on the wrong side of the road…’
- ‘British cars are undrivable…’
- ‘free healthcare is such a stupid idea…’
- ‘British TV sucks…’
- ‘refrigerators and washing machines are very small…’
- ‘there’s no dress code…’
- ‘black people are just people…’
- ‘they eat with their forks upside down…’
I’ve travelled all over the world, I’ve worked, lived, and had many vacations in the United States, I have some close friends in America, and none of the above surprises me one little bit. American culture is so in-your-face and all-pervasive, (you only had to watch the recent Oscars ceremony to realise that), that all Americans think the rest of the world is just like America ~ trust me, it isn’t.
In addition, working Americans are allowed and take so few vacation days, (average 10 days a year), that the idea of visiting some of the great cultural sites in Europe just never crosses their minds.
The whole world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a single page. ~ Saint Augustine
Which is why it does not surprise me that;
- Middle America elected Donald Trump as their President.
- Americans are obsessed with social media like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
- More than 80% of Americans believe in conspiracy theories, and that the Government has kept secrets about UFOs.
- More than 85% of Americans believe in one or more of; aliens, flying saucers, angels, astrology, extra-sensory-perception, Big Foot, ghosts, reincarnation, the healing power of crystals, witchcraft, that they can win money in Las Vegas casinos, and that winning the lottery is a viable financial plan.
- Over 75% of Californians believe that more than 25% of Americans are Gay or Lesbian, (the true figure is 3.5% of Americans are LGBT).
- 25% of Americans believe in creation theory and that the Earth is the centre of the universe.
- 25% of Americans believe they won their Independence from a country other than Great Britain.
- All Americans feel they need a planned and fixed itinerary before setting off on their travels.
A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~ Lao Tzu
To a well-travelled, well-read, and well-educated Englishman like me, it’s very sad that most Americans are like a Monday morning quarterback ~ they think they can talk a good game, but mostly they talk bullshit. Actually, it’s worse than that, most Americans think their opinions matter to others. They need to get out into the world a bit more.
And in England, ‘Trump’ is still another word for ‘Fart’.
Have a nice day.
If I could, I would spend all of my time on the beach. My local beach, or in Australia, California, Miami, Texas, or the Windies… just so long as there is the sea and the sky. Lighthouses, a cool villa, and a gorgeous woman would be good too. I would settle for a hut to sleep in. To be honest, I can do without the guy playing the guitar.
Chris Rea ~ On The Beach
please listen responsibly
On The Beach is also the title of a novel by Nevil Shute, which was turned into a chilling movie starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. (I think Ava Gardner has such a look of a dirty vamp about her.)
please watch responsibly
If your girl talks about the 2000 Armand Assante movie, it’s cool if you not only know about the earlier film, but also the book.
As for my beach. It’s lonely, cold, and grey down by the sea today.
I like road trips. Once I went on a road trip with a woman who was leaving herself behind. Seems I am always doomed to play Shane to her Mrs. Starrett. It could have been worse, she could have left me when I needed her most.
The only man I have ever been afraid of is myself
sometimes real men stand up to be counted.
please listen responsibly to the lyrics
Money ~ we all have the same problems. How to get money, how to get more money, and what do we do with it when we’ve got some money? Trust me on this one ~ MONEY IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT.
My best guess is that most of the people who read my blog don’t have 30 years in the money trade, or have a Masters in Finance, and another in Banking, along with a shed-load of other qualifications, so we’ll start working on 1.01 Money. (If you are a money expert, please feel free to comment, and disagree with whatever I say, but you better be damn right or I will make you look stupid.)
Money by itself is worthless. Money only has value by the nature of the things you can do with it. And mostly you can do 3 things with money.
- Money as a medium of exchange. Money is an intermediate in the exchange of goods or services. You go to work for money, and then you swap the money for the stuff you actually want and need. You don’t want the money, you want what the money can get for you.
- Money as a measure of value. The amount of money you have determines what you can get for your money. If you have a lot of $ or £ or whatever, you can get a lot of stuff. We know how much stuff we can get because everything is conveniently priced in money. The value of your time is also measured in money. (there is a price for everthing, up to and including sex)
- Money as a store of value. Instead of buying more and more stuff you don’t need right now, you just keep money in expectation that you can buy the stuff you need at sometime in the in future.
Money is a
piss poor very bad store of value, especially right now. Just how bad depends on how you warehouse your money. The worst store of value is lending money to a friend, at 0% interest, on the expectation that you will get it back. Next worst is actual cash, then various types of bank accounts, and then managed funds and so forth…
ALL Money Loses Value Over Time. Thinking that your money will be worth just as much, or more, in the future is the biggest confidence trick that Governments and the Finance Industry have ever pulled. However you keep your money, from cash to in your pension fund / 401(k), the amount of stuff you could have bought with the money you have put in, over time, will be a hell of a lot more than the stuff you can actually buy when you eventually come to take it out.
Why Store Value In Money? So, why bother with a pension / 401(k) / managed fund? Why not just buy stuff right now, and keep it for when you need it? There are a couple of reasons:
- Security. Unless your money is in a very dodgy bank, the chances are it will still be there when you need it to exchange for stuff. You can’t really say the same for anything much else, including the value of your home. (Insurance is another topic, for a future date.)
- Liquidity. You need some money that’s easily got at. So, what if everything you own, every last penny save for the few dollars in your purse, is invested in your home? The snag is, what if you need money next Monday? Money is very liquid, while all other assets have lower degrees of liquidity. In general terms, the less liquid your assets, the more likely they are to increase in value over time.
So what does that mean to the poor working stiff?
- Don’t have a lot of cash on hand, or a lot of money in the bank.
- Have some cash, some assets you can confidently sell in a few days ~ without having to have a fire sale. Also have some long-term secure assets, and here, property has traditionally been the best long-term way to hold your wealth.
- Do not ever pay for financial advice. (up to and including from me.)
Please also read my post Money. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
Next Monday’s post will be about some ways the average working stiff can make their money really work for them ~ instead of the other way around.
A female friend of mine had a hunch that I would not like a movie she had recently enjoyed. So, just to prove a point to herself, she spent 40 minutes telling me every damn detail of the film’s scenario, characters, and plot. There’s 40 minutes out of my life I can never get back. Judging by what she told me in that long, long, 40 minutes, the only reason any man would sit through that movie, (or anything like it), is in the hope he would deserve sympathy sex afterwards.
In case my friend is in any doubt that I really, really, don’t want to watch a movie like the one she just described to me in such excruciating detail, here are some of the movies I like best.
Come to think of it, my friend did once make me sit all the way through an even worse film, (including the out~takes), than the distressingly stultifying chick flick she’s recently told me all about, (and I mean all about).
Some of my favourite movies that didn’t make the cut; Bambi, Bullit, A Bridge Too Far, Casablanca, The Cruel Sea, Die Hard, Ben Hur, Groundhog Day, High Society, North by Northwest, The Searchers, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty, Vanishing Point, Young Frankenstein, and many, many more. Some of which are rom-com, but none is a damn annoying depressing chick-flick…
for those who don’t really get irony
this is a ‘tongue in cheek’ post
It doesn’t matter if you believe in magic, or not.
What matters is that the magic believes in magic.
There is a magic of the tides, and power in the moon, the stars, and the sea. If you want to rid yourself of something, write its name in the sand on a falling tide, say your prayer and invocation, and the sea will carry whatever you have named away from you.
I no longer suffer from insane jealousies.
Today I had a rising tide in my favour. The rising tide will bring your wish, your prayer, your invocation to you.
Given one prayer, one wish to the Goddess, what should I ask to be brought to me? What would you write in the sand?
I know how this magic works, at least I think I do. What I am certain of is that this magic works for me. And, now I wait.
Stars I’ve ever had a crush on?
A girl I know raised that topic, and I had to think about it. To begin with, men of my generation don’t really use English like ‘have a crush on.’ Secondly, have I ever felt hopelessly attracted to a female from stage, screen, or the music industry?
Well, turns out I was. And, turns out she is well before your time, (really she’s well before my time too).
Jane Russell. The eccentric billionaire, aircraft designer, and film mogul Howard Hughes once built a special bra better to display her magnificent cleavage in a western movie. This scene almost finished up on the cutting-room floor becuase the censors thought it was too erotic for American audiences. How sad would that have been?
Powerful body, fabulous legs, magnificent décolletage, sexy face, luscious lips…
And, she could even do comedy. The question is; are there any ‘up to date stars’ I find almost as sexy? (or even sexier?)
Shania Twain has pretty good legs and shoulders too.
All very reprehensible and adolescent stuff I should have grown out of long ago. But, am I sorry I still find these quite sexy clips a turn-on? Hell no!
It’s cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey.
This phrase seems like a good metaphor for very cold weather, but at first sight it’s quite an odd thing to say. Americans, in particular, may wonder why normally staid and polite Englishmen would come up with something so apparently rude.
This damned place is 18 below zero and I go around thanking God that, anatomically and proverbially speaking, I am safe from the awful fate of the monkey. ~ Zelda Fitzgerald. (wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald)
There are also some contractions and derivations of this phrase.
- Brass Monkey’s
- Brass monkey weather
- As cold as a witch’s tit in a brass bra
- Cold enough to freeze the tail of a brass monkey
- Brassed Off ~ meaning ‘pissed off’ (which may or may not have anything to do with any of this)
First of all, let me put your mind at rest, this description of very cold weather has nothing to do with testicles, simian or otherwise. However, like most colloquial English / English expressions etymologists have no clear idea where, when, and how the phrase came to be.
Like many English expressions, the most widely accepted explanation is that ‘cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’ is nautical / naval in origin. The balls in this case are iron cannon balls, and the brass monkey is a frame to stack them in.
On dry land the neatest way to store cannon balls is to stack them in a pyramid. That doesn’t work so well aboard a heeling, rolling, and pitching, sailing ship. Said cannon balls would soon be rolling all over the deck. So a brass frame was made, the brass monkey, (also known as a shot garland), to hold the cannon balls securely in place. The theory goes that in cold weather the different coefficients of expansion and contraction of brass and iron would have made the cannonballs roll out of the brass frame.
This is most likely a load of balls.
As usual the professional etymologists don’t have a clue, but it’s a very useful and descriptive phrase. So, the next time you experience some cold weather, surprise and shock your friends by saying… ‘brrrrr it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey…’
Next time I’ll try to explain £sd…