travelling far turns you into a storyteller
in a December’s winter I would rather be almost anywhere but here.
California is a nice place to live, if you happen to be a hippie.
Orange County in Southern California is a very beautiful place to spend early summer ~ the great weather, fabulous beaches, and fascinating countryside….. But any Englishman thinking of coming here for the very first time needs to know that SoCal is as different from the Shires as Wensleydale cheese is from the muck known as American cheese.
George Bernard Shaw once said that England and America are two countries separated by a common language. This is manifestly true. Californians do not know how to speak or understand English, even if Spanish is not their first language. Certainly no Californian will ever understand English humour, irony, sarcasm, or know what real honesty is about. Also Californians have a language of their own; WTF does ‘Jonesing’ mean?
There is popular movement that calls on us all to walk 10,000 steps a day. Californians do not walk anywhere, unless they are a penniless bum. A Californian will drive to the gym and then spend some time on the treadmill while listening to mindless music.
And, Californians are among the very worst drivers I have ever come across, possibly barring the French. The two real downsides are #1 all Americans think they are good drivers, #2 in California the standard of driving worsens by age, sex, and ethnicity, (not how you’d think).
Californians even drive to and from what they are pleased to call a pub. I’ve been in several pubs / sports bars here, and to any decent Englishman they are universally appalling. Do Not think you will get a decent pint of beer here, they serve dross such as pineapple flavoured beer. Americans are also pleased to sit at the bar and watch sports TV all night. Do Not eat the food in any American pub / sports bar.
Some Californian food is fabulous, you can get a wonderful steak and salad here. On the other hand sushi is popular here, and so is serving nasty cheese with everything. Do not try ‘Mexican’ food, it’s greasy muck with jalapeno.
Some say that California is the Golden State. And that saying ‘have a nice day’ isn’t actually an insult. All I know is that bikers, drop-outs, hippies, stoners, and surf bums do well here.
The beach bars are cool in California,
and some serve good food,
These are among my pictures I like most of all.
taken by the girl riding shotgun
I like American women. They do things that French women never do ~ like showering.
It occurs to me that my expectations are usually way off what is likely to happen, my manners and mores are ridiculously old-fashioned, and my standards are way too high for any girl to reasonably meet. Does that make me wrong, or stupid, or just English?
Being an older English guy isn’t always a bed of roses. And being a cool English guy in the USA can make one realise why England and America are two countries separated by a common language. More than half the time American woman have no idea what the
fuck hell I’m talking about.
On the other hand, dating an American woman is so much better than dating a Parisienne girl. Body odour and the smell of cigarette smoke tend to follow them around like a personal raincloud.
I love American women. Just not necessarily in New York.
the circle line is cool too
true friendship makes the most of the good in life
New Mexico in November is very bleak, very cold, and very unforgiving ~ and you can trust me on that one, because I’ve been there for the past week. It’s not the kind of country you would choose to spend time in the late autumn unless you had a damn good reason. Such as attending some important conference, except the conference I was at was called a retreat.
After the retreat ended on Sunday I opted to spend another couple of days out here in the high desert, first visiting Santa Fe, and then heading back to Albuquerque to hop a flight back to Orange County CA tomorrow. Despite the cold, snow, and hard harsh countryside, I’m glad that I had the chance to see even just the tiniest part of this vast state.
The experience reinforced in my mind just how different America and Americans are from the life experiences of an average Englishman such as me. That’s a good thing. I need to know that there are other standards of behaviour and ways of doing things than the English way, than the way I would customarily do stuff.
A cool guy should be able to fit into any strange situation, including America, without either making a fool of himself or losing his identity. A very cool guy should be able to be charming, honest, open, and capable of talking with anyone, including Americans from New Mexico. It’s easy to relate to people who are similar to you, but not so easy for an Englishman in Albuquerque.
The watchword is that I need to lose my prejudices, and accept that some people really like to try to connect and have a conversation with someone they have only just met. Or, to put it another way, when in America, do as the Americans do ~ it is their country after all.
Some say that all American men should grow up and stop acting like a high-school freshman all the time. And, that learning to properly eat with a knife and fork would improve the average American’s manners no end. All I know is that America is a cool place, and Americans are really nice people, if you just accept them on their own terms.
New York, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap
I like New York, I like the Plaza, the Monkey Bar, the Circle Line, Saks on 5th, and eating at Lincoln Square Steak. I don’t like gypsy cabs, the subway, Times Square, or Central Park.
Please listen responsibly.
In New York, “have a nice day…..” doesn’t mean what you think it means.
A Leader is one who shows the way.
Listening to the wireless yesterday, I happened to hear part of a speech / response to a question by President Trump on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Allegedly some 100 men, women, and children were killed by Sarin Gas / and or Chlorine Gas, on Tuesday of this week. This ‘massacre’ took place in Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, allegedly the ‘massacre’ was carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Russia says this atrocity was caused by gas leaking from a terrorist / Syrian rebel chemical weapons depot.
Sarin Gas is particularly nasty stuff, invented by Hitler’s boffins, odourless and deadly in 10 seconds, it’s a perfect terrorist weapon. The use of Sarin was banned in 1997 under the UN chemical weapons convention. Chlorine Gas will also kill you pretty quickly, and obviously chlorine isn’t banned, but chlorine stinks. The 1925 Geneva Protocol specifically prohibits the use of Gas in Warfare, but apparently allows the use of chemical weapons within a state’s own borders in a civil conflict. So it wouldn’t actually be completely illegal for Syrian forces to use Chlorine Gas on rebels in Idlib Province.
However, the rights, wrongs, culprits, retaliations, and possible solutions for this terrible incident wasn’t what struck me about President Trump’s words during his Rose Garden Press Conference. My first thought was that Mr. Trump didn’t sound ‘Presidential’. His presentation skills were, quite frankly, terrible.
Strictly speaking, this wasn’t a ‘presentation’ by President Trump, but anytime a President of The United States of America speaks, shouldn’t he radiate authority, clarity, confidence, gravitas, and complete command of his brief? For me, Mr Trump just sounded like an amateur speaker at a golf club tournament.
The President committed the cardinal sins of deviation, hesitation, and repetition. I have a strong feeling that Mr. Trump speaks totally ‘off the cuff’, and ‘shoots from the hip’. At the same time I believe that Mr. Trump has spent far too long using facile social media such as Twitter, and not long enough reading modern history written by statesmen such as Winston Churchill.
Listen to one of Mr Churchill’s great speeches, such as the ‘Finest Hour’, and then listen to Mr Trump on Syria, and note the differences. If you like, you can also listen to someone like the actor Morgan Freeman, who sounds far more ‘Presidential’ than President Donald Trump.
The question is; does sounding and acting like a great president, make you a great president? Well, partly it does. Some say that John F. Kennedy was a great president, and that his greatest speech was his 100 days speech. All I know is that Kennedy ‘sounds’ like a great President, and sadly Trump doesn’t, not quite, not yet. Although Mr Trump does have a pretty cool sense of humour, and maybe that’s why a woman like Hillary Clinton couldn’t get herself elected.
Some say that a man should ‘fake it to make it’, and that looking and sounding like a leader is nine-tenths of the battle. All I know is that presentation skills are part of urban survival skills and something every man should learn.
Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
There seems to be a lot of angry people in the world today, mostly angry that recent events didn’t turn out the way they wanted, and the future is looking very different to the way they wished it to be.
Angry people are not always wise. ~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Even very recent events are beyond our control. The past is the one part of our lives over which we have absolutely no influence, none whatsoever. No amount of regret, bad feelings, or anger can ever change what has already happened. All that anyone has any control over is what they do right now, and what they do right now will shape the future. If people choose to feel angry about the past, then they are denying themselves the opportunity to enjoy the present, and thereby create a better future.
Life is difficult and painful. This is the first of The Four Noble Truths. Things often don’t turn out the way we would like them to. Dwelling on the past and being angry about it isn’t necessarily the best way to make either the present or the future a better and happier place.
We don’t have to get angry, and we don’t have to stay angry. There are other and more positive emotions we can create from our anger. More often than not our anger does not get us what we want. Anger often turns inward and makes angry people bitter, twisted, and ineffectual.
Anger is an acid than can do more harm to vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. ~ Mark Twain
We shouldn’t suppress our anger, but there are positive and constructive alternatives to aggressively inflicting our anger on other people. Intentionally hurting other people is almost universally a bad thing. All to often angry people won’t listen to calmer counsel. All too often angry people will not listen to opposing viewpoints. All to often angry people try to shout their opponents down.
If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. ~ Noam Chomsky
We can use anger to spur ourselves on to greater and better things. The energy, the adrenalin, the drive our anger arouses in us can be used to make positive and healing changes to the world around us. We all need to learn to tame our temper.
The best fighter is never angry. ~ Lao Tzu
We don’t always have to get mad. We don’t always have to get even. We don’t even have to tell other people that they are wrong, stupid, ignorant, uneducated, ungentlemanly, and childish. We can keep our opinions mostly to ourselves, and instead work quietly for the greater good.
We may not like recent events like Brexit, President Trump, Populism, and a lot of other crazy stuff going on in the World today, but getting angry and then belligerently expressing your anger probably isn’t the answer. More often than not, anger isn’t nice, it isn’t often pretty, and it isn’t really healthy. People die from too much anger.
And, depending on who has been in the wrong, then every once in a while, a sincere apology helps. Sometimes.
these thoughts are mine, and mine alone
So, what about politics? There’s nothing useful for this Englishman to say about the US Presidential election. Less than useful is I thought British politics was bad until I took an interest in the political goings on in the world’s most powerful nation.
Right now, politics in the United States of America seems just a bit… extreme.
Here’s a song for whoever wins.
Please Listen Responsibly.
Whoever does get into the White House, I hope my American friends will continue to survive and thrive in Freedonia.
The whole world is filled with news of violence and chaos.
In the United States of America the killing of white police officers by disaffected black men continues, with a new tragedy almost every day. The abortive military coup in Turkey seems to be the beginning of a Stalinesque purge by President Erdogan. An insane muslim petty criminal kills and critically injures over 100 people in the French town of Nice, with a truck.
The Middle East in still in flames with muslim fanatics in Iraq, (Daesh, IS, ISIL, ISIS, whatever), inflicting torture, rape, and murder on women and anyone they don’t like, (mostly non muslims, homosexuals, and women). The strangling of ‘selfie queen’ Quandeel Baloch by her brother is just the most recent and high profile honour killing in supposedly civilised countries like Pakistan and India. Millions of refugees are on the move, many of them trying to gain access to a better life in Europe.
Gentleness, self-sacrifice, and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
In the European Union, crime by these self-same refugees is endemic, particularly rape and sexual assault. Meanwhile, England has decided to leave the European Union, (Brexit), and today the British Parliament will vote to replace our fleet of nuclear ballistic missile submarines with something even deadlier.
What strikes me is that the vast majority of this mayhem is committed by men. One has to ask if deep within the male of the human species is an hereditary propensity to aggression, violence, mayhem, jealousy, and conflict.
You know what? There is. Males are naturally violent and competitive. Look at the entire natural kingdom, from the tiny robin bird, to alpine goats, to man, and we see violent competition for territory, food, and females.
It’s only common sense and a higher, (almost altruistic), need to protect the survival of the species, as against one’s own gratification, survival, and the promotion of one’s own genetic heritage, that keeps species, (including mankind), from wiping themselves out.
In the past I have been guilty of aggression, excessive competitive urges, violence, manipulation, a need for instant gratification, and insane jealousy. But, do you know something else? The better part of mankind sublimates aggressive urges and instead cultivates serenity and a strong desire to do no harm.
The better man is safe, reliable, dependable, altruistic, friendly, kind, and protective. Women feel safe around that kind of man. Going to the extremes of available responses should only be resorted to for the protection of oneself and others, especially those you care for.
Some day you will find out that there is far more happiness in another’s happiness than in your own. ~ Honore de Balzac
Randomly killing people is the sign of a diseased and inferior mind, body, and spirit.