Monday, June 29, 2009

Lighting the house

A y'all will recall we're finishing off work on a house down here and are at the stage of those internal furnishings. As, when we've finished this house we're going to sell and do it all over again, good that we've learnt things this time around, no?

For example, things like whre to get our lamps from. Instead of traipsing around the stores, getting footsore and weary as we go, we've been able to do most of this online. This particular store (click though any link to see) has a better selection (and better priecs) than any bricks and mortar store can hope to manage. Which is why, of course, we like it.

Just as examples, check out their collection of floor lamps. Or if those don't appeal, how about desk lamps? And of course they have a similar great selection of just about every other type of lamp too.

And you can go shopping with a glass in your hand as well, something that I and the wife greatly appreciate.

Fighting over Michael Jackson

I have to say this is a little surprising. No, not fighting over Michael Jackson, we know that's been going on for a long time and will continue. Who among his entourage would be able to control his fortune....who among his entourage will control his fortune now he's dead?

But rather, people not fighting about money fighting about Michael Jackson:

A fight broke out on a Florida bus when news of Michael Jackson's death sparked debate over whether he should be remembered as a great musical talent, and one passenger was charged with assault, police said on Friday.

I mean seriously folks, he was a pop singer. A damn good one, but there's no point in waving knives around over him!

Mosquito magnets

One of the not quite so charming things about living in a decent climate is that of course in summer you get plagued by mosquitos. Fortunately, there are things to deal with this like the Mosquito Magnet. Quite simply, you put one of the attractants, like lurex in, the mozzies go to that and get killed by the machine. You get to sit in the garden and not get eaten as a result.

However, you do have to make sure that you keep the machine well maintained, that you place the trap in the right place (see usage tips for more) and that you keep it topped up with one of the attractants. There are two of these attractants, one mimics human breath, the other releases from human skin. I find the second, the lurex mentioned above works better for me but your experience can differ!

Don't give away too much

That seems to bethe lesson of this particular stunt. If what you're giving away as part of a publicity stunt has too high a value then you're publicity stunt just ain't gonna work:

An overeager crowd in the Hungarian capital thwarted low-cost airline Wizz Air's attempt to release 1,000 balloons for its fifth anniversary celebrations when they caught wind of the freebies attached.

Onlookers spied coupons worth 10,000 forints ($49.45) attached to each balloon and a free-for-all of popping and grabbing commenced before the balloons could be officially released from a giant net in the center of Budapest.

Of course the vouchers were intended to be spread far and wide by the balloons so that they could make hay with more publicity when someone from the next country but one over tried to redeem one.

Oh well, back to the planning stage I guess. And, of course, don't forget not to make your give away too valuable!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Solving the transport problem

OK, so we all know that we've got to come up with some other way of getting around our towns and cities. We simply cannot carry on with the automobile, not for all of us, all the time. So, what should we use as an alternative? OK, so we could have public transport but things like light rail cost an absolute fortune. No, really, more than buying every user a car. Buses don't actually have high rider figures, making them as well inefficient.

So, what can we in fact use? Well, what about an electric bike? The bicycle itself is of course well known, but if you're in a hilly area, or if you as an individual are not that fit, then there's a problem. And this is something that Electric Bikes solve very well. For example, hills.....just use the electric engine to go up the hill then turn it off for the flat and or the downhill part. In fact, that's pretty much having all the fun of a bicycle with none of the problems, all fun and no effort.

(Why is there a part of me that thinks that some Greens won't like them. Saving Gaia should hurt! you can hear them say).

Actually, the more I think about this the more I like the idea of an Electric Bicycle . I myself am getting to an age where fighting with hills is losing its appeal (and the knees don't like it either) and I also live in a hilly area. So why not?

Click through the links there to see what we're talking about. You can get 15- 20 mph on the battery and engine alone (rather more than I usually manage under pedal power) and again, on the battery alone, you've got a range of up to 20 miles. For most people, most of the time, this sounds like a really good solution. The ease of cycling without the effort. Why not check it out?

Israel's richest woman?

Or the country's weirdest woman?

Now, it is true that we allow the rich to entertain ideas that the rest of us do not. They are, after all, insulated from the real world by their very wealth. But this idea that you might be getting visions from above, that the Almighty might be telling you what to, this is kookiness, not just the eccentricity of the rich:

Shari Arison, Israel's richest woman and the controlling shareholder of the country's second-largest bank, said on Sunday she has visions and receives messages "from above," but they do not influence the management of her companies.

Fortunately, she doesn't actually manage any of the companies she owns. say fortunately, for look at the title of the books she's just releasing.

"Birth - When the Spiritual and the Material Come Together,"

Yup, barking. Rich and barking.

Some things are essential

Depending upon where you live, some things are simply essential. You're not going to live in North Dakota without a heating system (quite literally, without one after the first winter you won't be living).

Up in the high desert of Utan you need your A/C which might be why this salt lake city, utah air conditioning company is doing so well. Growth over 14 years to 85 employees is indeed doing well....but actually, I think the reason they're doing so well is that they've got, understood, the most important thing about business. It's the employees that make the company, which are the most vital asset. That's what enables a company to grow.

Given that they've got that they're almost certainly a good choice if you need those sort of services in that area.

Man bites dog.

As the old journalistic saw has it, dog bites man is not a story. For it to be a story it has to be the other way around, the unusual, man bites dog.

So I'm not all that sure that this from Reuters is in fact news.

A dog in Germany shot by a drunken man with a gun took swift revenge by biting off the end of the man's nose, authorities said on Monday.

I mean, OK, so it's vaguely amusing that the man was so imcompetent, and that the dog took his revenge. But is it actually news? Thatnthe dog bit someone who had just injured it?

Monday, June 22, 2009

This is interesting

I'd not thought of doing this before but it does seem like an excellent way of getting a look at another society. Sure, we're all familiar with the notice boards in our own areas, but why not go and read a notice board or forum in another country.

You'll be able to see what it is that actually interests people.....not what they think you ought to know about their country, but be able to see into the real society.

For example, why not try this womens forum in India. We know that it's a very different society, of course, but with the advantage that English is the language of the middle classes....exactly those we might expect to find on such a forum. It's all really ratther fascinating, try this section on Indian recipes, or maybe this on bridal care.

There's nothing quite like being able to see what a society really talks about as a way of trying to understand it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Child friendly workplaces

This was a political stunt that didn't quite make the point the stuntee was trying to I think.

An Australian senator whose crying toddler was ejected from parliament during a political vote has prompted a review of chamber rules and sparked a heated debate over child-friendly work practices.

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said she was "humiliated" when Senate President John Hogg ordered her teary 2-year-old daughter removed from the parliamentary chamber before a vote, in accordance with parliamentary rules.

"It shows that parliament is still based on a very male model and I just think it's absolutely ridiculous," said Women's Electoral Lobby Chairwoman Eva Cox.

The aim was, of course, to show how patriarchal, how outmoded, outdated, the Parliament was because a woman could not bring her young child to work with her.

What actually got shown was how sensible it is to not have screaming toddlers around the workplace. I don't think she quite managed to prove what it was that she was hoping to prove there.

Skiing, in summer?

Yes, you really can spend your summer vacation skiing. Sounds a little odd at first, but when you think about it it all makes excellent sense. And no, you don't have to go south of the equator to find snow in summer. What you do have to do though is go to altitude.

What they do is run summer camps on Mount Hood in Oregon. You can train up and polish you skills for there is indeed snow all summer there.

As to it making sense, well, you get to go skiing on snow (obviously the point) but you don't have to put up with that appalling, cold, winter weather. Sounds like a deal all round really.

A beer, stupid!

I think we've all had this experience at one time or another, haven't we? Bar staff so stupid that they don't understand what it is that you're asking for? You know, you ask for a beer and they look at you in open mouthed astonishment that someone might come into a bar and ask for such a thing?

Well, now there's a solution:

A Spanish bar is encouraging clients to insult its staff and offering free drinks for original or hilarious abuse.

"When you come in after work, you can say swear at them and call them bastard or imbecile," said client Antonio Ossa, who told state news agency EFE the promotion by the "Casa Pocho" bar in the southern town of Cullera near Valencia seemed like a good idea to him.

There you have it, although you'll obviously have to travel to Spain in order to vent your frustrations.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer rentals or year round?

OK, so the summer vacation is coming and of course everyone wants to get a beach rental. Or perhaps you'll not decide to do it only for the summer, but will want to be at the beach all year? In the South that is of course possible, there's none of this shivering in mid winter that happens up north.

But where? Why not check out wilmington nc vacation rentals, a great source for both types of rental, the summer vacation and the year round type. They're part of the Century 21 network, so you know that you're going to get a good and professional service at a reasonable price. If I didn't already live at the beach I'd be checking it out too.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Afraid of the hellions

Now this part I already knew about. The Japanese trains at rush hour are simply horrendously
crowded. They actually employ people to push you in. And, of course, in such circumstances there are going to be those men who take the opportunity to cop a feel. So the solution has long been:

Many women taking the crowded train in Tokyo opt for women-only carriages during the rush hour to avoid gropers.

However, we've also had a little turn up for the books. Apparently the women (very oddly for Japan) are becoming sufficiently assertive that the men are now afraid of being accused of groping. So, the next petition:

Now, for fear of being accused of groping, some are asking for carriages reserved for men as well.

I'm not sure if that's an advance or not.

The furniture clearance sale

Woo Hoo, this is a bit of a find. A great furniture clearance sale is going on and the savings look absolutely stunning. From the main page I can see a dining room set down from $6,795 to $2,495. And there are other savings there just as good. An outdoor dining set for example, down to $1,995 from $4,895. Without whipping out the calculator I'm not sure which is the larger percentage reduction but I think you'll agree they're both pretty good?

If you're not chasing one of those bargains there's also the everyday great low prices on bedroom furniture to look at, or the Bathroom vanities. The one part I'm not showing to my wife is the outdoor furniture for I'm slightly worried that she'll decide she just wants it all. And even at these prices that just ain't gonna happen. Easier not to let her know about it than to have to disappoint her.

But why not check it all out? A great selection of high quality furniture at great normal prices and then even lower during the great blowout furniture sale?

Stealing in order to go to jail

You know, for most of us, stealing is something that we do (if, of course, we do in fact steal) despite of, in fear of, the fact that we might go to jail. However, this isn't always the case. Some will steal in order to go to jail.

A jobless Taiwan man released from prison stole a box of cotton swabs just to get arrested again because he "could not forget the police department boxed lunches," officers and local media said Tuesday.

The homeless man in Taipei first stole a pair of shoes on Sunday, was detained and released, the Liberty Times said. He then resorted to stealing again the next day just to get back inside and be fed for free.

Now jail food really doesn't have that much of a reputation for excellence, anywhere in hte world, and I doubt that Taiwan is all that different. So, the guy must have been desperate, right?

Finding a moving company

One of the things that this here internet allows us to do is find the goods and services that we need and desire more easily. Instead of having to traipse around the stores to find things we can simply search through the offers online. Instead of having to phone around endlessly we can once again just surf to get the quotations for services.

The advantages of this were just emphasised for me as I was looking for a moving company. Yup, we're going to be moving house again soon. As an example, take a look at this site for a Dallas Movers. They're a long established local company, got a good local reputation, all the things that you would want to see. But, instead of having to chase them for a quote, you can simply ask them online.

Would you like a fixed price quote? Or would you prefer an hour by hour one? Either is available directly from their website and how convenient is that, eh?

And guess what, a 15 ft truck starts from only $125. Although I agree, that wouldn't be all that useful for the pianos that the company also specialises in :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Snake bitten cock in a pot.

Snake bitten cock in a pot sounds like one of those strange things you'd see on the Engrish site. You know, someone's got very confused about what Coq au Vin is. Or perhaps some ghastly sexual perversion that only three people have ever heard of.

Oddly though, it's even stranger than that. It's a real Chinese meal:

Chinese health authorities are putting a stop to restaurants serving chickens which have been bitten to death by poisonous snakes and cooked up for a supposedly detoxing meal.

The dish, served by a small number of eateries in the southern province of Guangdong and the southwestern city of Chongqing, has generated a storm of publicity and controversy in the Chinese media and amongst bloggers.

A video showing a cook holding a snake and forcing it to bite a live chicken until it dies has been widely circulated online.

Jeepers. I know there are parts of China where absolutely anything is food but that's ludicrous!

Getting your taxes done.

The way that the Congresscritters keep making the tax code ever more complicated it's a wonder that anyone at all manages to get their taxes filed, let along correctly. And, truth be known, just about no one who does their taxes on their own does file them correctly: as Tim Geithner, now Treasury Secretary didn't. Now the problem is, if you or I get our taxes wrong then they don't just smile sweetly and accept out apologies, as they did with Secretary Geithner. Oh no, they will want their pound of flesh.

Which is why yopu might want to take note of this company, one that can help you with an IRS payment plan if you should need one. Or, if needs be, a IRS substitute for return . And even, if things get really bad, a tax audit defense . For as I say, if you or I get things wrong on our tax returns there is no opportunity to just say "Ooops, Sorry!".

The tax man will be after us and he'll want blood. And you'll both want and need an expert fighting your corner. Click through the links to see what can be done for you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

People are weird

People are weird, you know? So there's this nasty disease out there, one that kills some 1-5% of the people that get it. So, of course, you would think that people would work with hte public health authorities in trying to make sure it doesn't spread, right? If they thought they had it they would try to make sure they didn't infect others, they'd go to hospital, yes?


Many sick passengers who flew to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam took fever reducers to cheat temperature scanners at the airport, leading to the discovery of several infected cases later, state media reported at the weekend.

Nguyen Van Chau, head of Ho Chi Minh City's Health Department, was quoted in state-run Tien Phong (Vanguard) daily as saying "a series of passengers" took fever reducers three hours before arrival.

"That's why when they passed through the airport, the body temperature scanners skipped them," Chau said.

Vietnam has confirmed 26 people infected with H1N1 flu, 23 of whom came by air after traveling in the United States or Australia. Three others fell sick after coming in contact with the infected travelers.

The country requires inbound passengers found with fever to be isolated for seven days.

Clinical investigations of the infected cases revealed they had taken fever reducers, Chau said.

Nope, people would deliberately conceal the fact that they were infected, deliberately try to infect others for their own selfish reasons.

As I said, people are weird.


Now here's something different in the world of US health care. Instead of waiting for the guys in Washington to come along and sort it all out for everyone people are innovating, coming up with new solutions. Take the Ameriplan dental health care package. Ameriplan packages start as low as $14.95 for an individual and $19.95 a month for a family.

Now hold on though, this isn't quite the same as a total medical package. What they're doing is using the buying power of their members (all 1.4 million of them) to lower the prices that they will have to pay. Bulk buying if you like. So it's not quite the same as insurance, this gets you discounts on the treatment you need and want.

The same is true of Ameriplan's medical care packages. You get access to the huge network of physicians that Ameriplan has built up. Those doctors get access to the huge number of customers and thus are willing to offer very attractive, highly discounted, rates for treatment.

For routine medical care and the usual maintenance this sort of plan sounds like a seriously good idea.Click through one of the links to see the details.

Honey, I shrunk the company

Willie Walsh may have laughed about this but it might not have been such a pleasant surprise for his wife. Working for a month for free might gain you plaudits in the office but maybe not so much at home with the person who does all of the spending of the money.

British Airways Plc Chief Executive Willie Walsh is showing solidarity with his staff in planning to work without pay next month as part of cost cuts, but the move may not have gone down so well with his wife.

"She read about it in the papers," a grinning Walsh told Reuters at a lunch for airline executives gathering in the Malaysian capital.

For as any advertiser will tell you, it's her indoors who determines how most of the household budget is going to be spent and a sudden decrease in what can be spent is not likely to go over well.

Remodelling the house

We've been working on this house down here for some time now and we've still got the contractors in. In fact, as I write I can hear a circular saw working on something or other. Not the most pleasant of sounds.

The reason it's all taken so long is twofold. Firstly, we've been paying for it bit by bit: I didn't want to take out a huge loan, not in the current turmoil. The second is that we've not really found quite the right contractor. Too late to change now of course, but I would have done it differently if I'd known.

I'd have done a proper search for who might be able to do the work well. For example, somebody like this Kansas City Remodeling contractor. It's obvious that he knows what he's doing, he's got a good reputation and he does exactly the sort of work that we wanted doiing.

Now we're not in Kansas City but looking around that directory would have found me someone locally, using Google would have done the same thing. As so often, we find a repetition of that old rule. Mr. Google is your friend.

I just wish I'd used him before I hired our current contractor.

Nom, nom, nom

You'd think that zoo keepers would be a little bit better informed about the risks that they face from the animals in their charge really. But apparently not:

The director of the Berlin Zoo made famous by the polar bear cub Knut has had his finger bitten off by a chimpanzee called Pedro.

Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, 55, was feeding Pedro walnuts as he showed a visitor round the zoo Monday when the ape grabbed his hand and bit off his right index finger.

The reason for the biting was not that the chimp was hungry though. It was a display of dominance. As the leader of the group Pedro has to keep making sure that people know he's the leader of the group, thus the "nom, nom" incident.

That's the explanation at least. However, biting off fingers as dominance gestures. How common is this? How many other chimps out there missing digits are there?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moving services

Now this strikes me as a seriously good service. I'd not heard that anyone did this before. So, imagine that you're going to move house. OK, obviously, you'll be looking for a moving quote. And there's two types that you can go for. One is the full service, where a large number of large guys turn up and pack everything for you and unpack at the other end.

Or you can just hire a U-Haul and do everything yourself.

However, what ABF U-Pack Moving does in inbetween. You pack everything in hte container they provide, then they do all the driving and you unpack at the other end. Sounds like a great compromise between the prices and work needed of the other two methods. Worth checking out.

Rat Island with no rats

This has in fact been a huge problem in certain parts of the world. The introduction of an alien species entirely upsets the indigenous fauna. It has been rabbits in Australia, Japanese Bindweed everywhere, cats in New Zealand. Where an ecology that grows up without a certain presence, the introduction can wreak havoc:

Alaska's Rat Island is finally rat-free, 229 years after a Japanese shipwreck spilled rampaging rodents onto the remote Aleutian island, decimating the local bird population.

After dropping poison onto the island from helicopter-hoisted buckets for a week and a half last autumn, there are no signs of living rats and some birds have returned, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rats have ruled the island since 1780, when they jumped off a sinking Japanese ship and terrorized all but the largest birds on the island. The incident introduced the non-native Norway rat -- also known as the brown rat -- to Alaska.

Good to know that with the widespread use of buckets of poison it is possible to reverse such matters, isn't it?

Leg Avenue Halloween Costumes

You might thin it's a little too early to be planning what you're going to be wearing come Halloween but we most certainly don't. Which is why we're pointing you to the Leg Avenue Halloween Costumes site. It's where you can get all of the sexy and humorous costumes you might want for that party season. Perhaps you'd like to go as a sexy referee (I can blow your whistle!) or maybe a Pirate Cutie is more your style?

Pretty much whatever you're looking for can be found there so why not click through the link and check out what is available?

Snakes in a police station: Update!

In an update to our previous post of Snakes in a police station! and the suitability of it being made into a sequel to the Samuel Jackson film, Snakes on a Plane, I think we have in fact just found our closing sequence.

Power hoses and AK-47 assault rifles have succeeded where Sierra Leone's snake-charmers failed by removing 400 cobras and vipers that overran a police station.

Authorities in the southern district of Bo called in police, army and fire fighters after the snakes scared away police officers and residents reporting crimes.

"We have forced water into the building and some of the snakes trying to escape were shot by our men carrying AK-47s," said Brima Kontu, head of the police station in Gerihun.

About 250 of the estimated 400 snakes who had made the station their home have been killed.

Yes, a suitably epic climax to the film I think. So, anyone know any Hollywood producers who would like to put this all into action?

The very final scene will of course be those few surviving snakes mating and creating a new generation.....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Elder law

The law is a many splendoured thing, as we know, a mansion with many rooms. Which is why it's so important to make sure that if you're going to engage a lawyer you make sure you engage one who actually understands the area of law that you're interested in. There's no point in using a specialist in the courtroom to write your will, no point in using an appeals specialist to deal with a criminal charge against you.

So when it comes to estate planning you want to make sure that you engage a lawyer that specialises in, well, estate planning quite obviously. That's exactly what Michael Baker does so that clicking through that link there will show you just what it is that he can help you with.

It's worth pointing out that this area of law is as much to do with the tax code as anything else, and that of course means needing to both understand the accounting treatment of different options and being able to work closely with accountants and other financial specialists. Michael's own background is in financial services, so of course he's well qualified here.

Further more, the other areas of law that Baker deals with are all closely related to this one. He's not jumping around from one area to another, doing DUIs one minute and complex appeals the next. No, he does elder law, trusts and wills, business planning, guardianship and so on. All interlocking and related areas, meaning that he has a deep background in the whole package of legal services that you might need in this area.

If this is the sort of legal services you need then click through those links to find out more.

Flower power!

Well, this is certainly one way of using flower power. Rather than the 60s version of using flowers as a symbol of peace, something that can stop war, why not use them in the war on crime?

A Tokyo district plagued with burglaries has turned to planting flowers to beautify its streets and help stamp out crime.

"'Operation Flower' began about three years ago. By planting flowers facing the street, more people will be keeping an eye out while taking care of the flowers or watering them," said Kiyotaka Ohyagi, a Suginami City official.

"The best way to prevent crime is to have more people on the lookout."

More people about in the open, more pairs of eyes looking out for the neighbourhood, less opportunity for crime. Hey, it works for me, can't see why it won't work there.

Finding a plastic surgeon

So we all know that better looking people get higher pay right? That the better you look the more likely you are to get a better job, a promotion, a pay rise?

So we rather owe it to ourselves to make sure that we look the best we can: and that can mean everything from just a bit of personal grooming all the way through to plastic surgery.

But how to find the surgeon that can do the work? Well, there's an interesting site out there that'll do just that. Have a look here for their listings of Chicago Plastic Surgeons. if you look around the site a little more you'll see that they also have similar listings for many other areas.

The magpie fox

This is a strange little story. It's more usually magpies (and sometimes rooks) that tend to do these sorts of things:

A fox has been unmasked as the mystery thief of more than 100 shoes in the small western German town of Foehren, authorities said Friday.

A forest worker stumbled upon shoes strewn near the fox's den and found a trove of footwear down the hole which had recently been stolen overnight from outside locals' front doors.

It seems that she stole them for her cubs to play with. As I say, it's more normally magpies that do this sort of thing, being willing to steal anything bright and shiny that they can to line their nests with.

Getting the landscaping done

Regular readers will know that we here are sorting out this new to us house. We've got one side done, the second is being done and now we're turning our attention to what needs to be done in the garden and surrounding area. The thing is though, we've not just got a small garden, we've also got some outlying land: you might think of it like a park almost, although at the moment it's more of a paddock and orchard.

So what we need is more than just a little gardening help, we actually need some proper design work done so that we're making the best use of the land and the opportunities. I've been looking around to see who might be able to help and I find myself rather wishing that the house was in Arizona. For I've found this excellent Phoenix Landscaping company which I rather wish I could use.

Sadly however, we're not in Phoenix, not anywhere close, so we can't use them at all, however good they appear to be. So, one with the search! Perhaps there'll be someone as good in our own area.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Banning Coke Zero

This has to be one of the weirder things that Chavez has done in Venezuela. Quite seriously bonkers:

The Venezuelan government of U.S.-critic President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday ordered Coca-Cola Co to withdraw its Coke Zero beverage from the South American nation, citing unspecified dangers to health.

Now I can understand him banning or nationalising businesses, he's a socialist, he simply doesn't understand how wealth is created. And I can understand him banning private TV stations and the like for he's a fascist and doesn't want anyone else to have any power.

But I really don't understand this idea of banning Coke Zero. What's the point? There's nothing in it, after all, there's no calories, no caffeine, no flavour and no point either to the drink or the ban.

Seriously, what's he up to?

A/C horror stories

I can, much to my annoyance, remember the worst drive I've ever done. Bythe end of it I was quite literally gasping for air and coolness.

It was the concatenation of three different things that caused the problem. First, I was in an old car, one where the air conditioning was on the blink. It sorta worked but could overheat and then not do so. Second, I was in Washington DC in the middle of summer. And third, there was a huge and massive traffic snarl up that meant a 20 minute drive in nromal times took me 4 hours to finish.

Yup. 4 hours in DC summer weather, stuck in traffic and yes, that's right when the A/C decided to go on me. Never again.

So, I recommend you make sure you know where you can get a good and decent a/c compressor from, just as I have done. Good service, friendly people, great prices, just click through to see what they can do for you.

The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain

Oh yes, this will be quite wonderful, the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain is going to be playing at the Proms.

The unlikely sound of ukuleles will take over one of Britain's largest classical musical festivals this summer, with an orchestra of the mini guitars performing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" in a play-along special.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB), sporting tuxedos and brandishing "bonsai guitars," will perform on a stage usually reserved for the world's greatest symphony musicians.

They are calling on other 'uke' players to come to the concert and play along in a performance likely to be more reminiscent of George Formby than Beethoven.

And they will be doing ode to Joy as well! Excellent. I do hope that someone puts that up on YouTube so that we have a reasonable and decent version of the european Anthem with which to poke fun at the federasts.

If you don't know what they're like, have a look at this video.

Why go to Disney World?

There are of course several possible reasons for getting Disney Tickets and heading off to Disney World. You want to take the kids to see it, you want to go yourself to one of the great tourist attractions of the world, you're in the area perhaps. My reason for going there a couple of decades back was a little different. It was all because my brother played the cymbals.

No, really.

We'd moved out to the US from England just about when I had finished school. My brother still had a couple of years to go so he went to the local High School in Virginia. While he was there he joined the marching band. You know the thing, the one that parades around the football field before, during and after the Friday Night game?

OK, so then this marching band entered the competition for best high school marching band in Northern Virginia, and the won. And then won Virginia, and then kept on winning. In fact, they became the best high school marching band on the whole of the East Coast. And the prize for that was a free trip to Disney World and, instead of just going there to gawp, they also got to be the band that played one day in the Mickey Mouse Parade.

This was of course an excellent excuse for me and a friend of mine to schedule a trip to Disney World ourselves. A couple of 19 year olds wandering around the place is a little odd....where are the little ones we should have been escorting? But it made sense if little brother was going to be in the parade, not just looking at it. So off we went and yes, we had a great time of it.

No, I can't promise that if you go there that you'll see my or your brother in the parade, but I can say that you're likely to have a good time. and if you do want to go, Orlando Fun Tickets has some of the best deals to get you in there.

Snakes in a police station!

I'm sure we all remember the dire movie "Snakes on a Plane"? it started out, so rumour has it, on a notice board on this here internet thing. And that was it, just the title alone was mentioned. And then others started to elaborate on the subject, one insisting that Samuel Jackson would have to play the lead.

And, lo, and it came to pass. Samuel Jackson was indeed the lead in a movie called "Snakes on a Plane" and the plotline was, essentially, Samuel Jackson with lots of snakes, on a plane.

Which leads us to this story from Africa:

Police in Sierra Leone have called in the army and fire brigade to try to take back control of a police station which has been overrun by hundreds of venomous snakes.

Snake charmers have tried in vain to lure the beasts, mostly cobras and vipers, out of Gerihun police station in the southern district of Bo. Attempts to smoke them out also failed.

Officers and residents wanting to report crimes have grown too afraid to come to the building.

"Even during work time when statements are being taken, these snakes can come out in dozens. Inhabitants have found it difficult to report cases to the police," station spokesman Brima Kota said.

Soldiers and fire fighters had been dispatched from the capital Freetown and would try to flood out the snakes, believed to number as many as 400, he said.

So, umm, guys, where do I send my outline treatment of this for the follow up movie?

Starring Samuel Jackson, with lots of snakes, in a police station? And can I get vinyl shutters in there somewhere as well?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Stock footage

One of the things that's changing in this wonderful online digital world is the prevalence of video now. Time was when a photo or even more, simply well chosen words, made for a good blog post and thus created a following. This is becoming increasingly untenable as the readers (or the viewers) are demanding video.

And this is a problem for us one man bands of course. We can't go to Africa and create nature stock footage for example. Now, OK, this is a pretty minor problem for blogging if I'm to be accurate. But it is a big problems for the hundreds (if not thousands) of TV stations now available over the satellite and cable systems.

None of them have the resources to create their own nature stock footage, nor hd stock footage. Thus the rise of the agencies and you can click through any of those links to see what can be purchased, off the shelf, without having to send a camera crew anywhere at all. For someone has already done it all for you.