Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Question for Adullamite.

Some time ago, Adullamite posted a picture of an odd little red car he'd come across on his travels. I'm a car buff, so I usually am pretty good at identifying old cars. (Cars from the nineties onward I generally have no interest in).
This time I was stumped. But I think I may have found the answer, or would guess that if I could find the original pic.... But I've been unable to remember when it was or the post title....

So, Adullamite, did it look at all like this?

If so, it was a Lloyd... A Lloyd Alexander, built by Norddeutscher Lloyd, the shipping company...

As I can't find the post, it's possible it was nothing like these. If so.... Sigh.  I thought I might have solved a mystery.

Monday, 10 November 2014

In just a few hours it will be Veterans Day in the United States,

Armistice Day.
The 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time the guns were to fall silent, the end of the first world war. 
Who, I wonder, was shooting on that morning, and why? what did they hope to achieve?  A last kill before shooting season ends?

 Anyway, it was over, it marked the end of "The War to End All Wars",  at the end of which, humans kept on developing weapons and seeking wars in which to use them.

Nonetheless, we hold remembrances, we Brits wave our poppies, Americans their flags. Our neighbourhood is full of flags, very patriotic, these Americans. Veterans day is a holiday, and  retired service personnel will wear their medals, badges, uniform caps with pride, strangers will thank them for serving.  It's not all about the dead, the living are remembered here too.

The school does a yearly project, where each pupil is set to meet and interview a veteran of the forces, to photograph and make a poster featuring that person, on the back is the interview, dates served, nature of service etc. My step-son interviewed a man who's become a friend of mine , Troy is one of a group of friends who meet once a week  over lunch. They all have stories. I thought I'd post here some pictures I took outside the school.

So many are represented, from the humblest rank to the dizzying heights of gold braid, veterans from pre WWII to the present day. Some of these kids have dads, uncles, brothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, in the military, in harm's way, serving, prepared to give their lives if need be.
Whether or not I believe in the wars they are sent to fight, I have the greatest respect for them. The old guys I have lunch with on a thursday have so many stories, war cold and hot. And of tragedies too. 

Tomorrow, they are saluted. But here, as in Britain, there's another reality, of the veterans who failed to reintegrate, the PTSD, the alcoholics, the guys who hold up cardboard signs "Ex soldier, Hungry, Homeless", and I, like the other drivers, check my door is locked, try not to meet the gaze... And drive on by.

Friday, 26 September 2014



Big big big day, the gears of the U.S.government grind exceedingly slowly, but this day brought a bunch of official papers to our mailbox.

I'm  an alien, I'm a LEGAL alien...... Green Card!!!!!!!!!!! Yayyyyyyyyyy!
Of course, it's not without conditions... Carry this card at all times. (and don't lose it?) Well, like my social security card I'll laminate a copy and carry that, keeping the original in a safe place.
And it's only valid to 2016. Before then I have to become a citizen or aply to get restrictions lifted. No, I have no idea what that means, so don't ask.

All should be well in the home of the brave and the land of the free. None of that: "Papieren, Bitte!" "Show your papers boy!" stuff.

Seriously though, everybody's been quite welcoming. Well, a lot of people think I come from New England, that's those who don't think I'm Australian.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Shoulder Surgery.

Cutting chopping and dicing set for tomorrow, Friday 29th August.
I'm so looking forward to it. The nurse told me not to expect to be able to sleep in a bed for some time... And told me the aftermath is notoriously painful. I replied that I have a good vocabulary of swear-words at the ready.
I also have a lot of books. At least half a week's worth.
After that Amazon gets my money or I watch all those rubbish movies I never got around to before.

And I confess I've been wasting time on Facebook, it has its uses,  but I hate to tell some of the people who pop up and try to friend me, that if we've not been in touch for years, I'm probably not going to want to see every little update....

Once, about twenty years ago I broke my left arm just below the shoulder. It was in a cast for a couple of months, set with a 90 degree elbow position. Never having bust a limb before, I glibly thought that the day the cast came off, life would resume as normal. What an idiot. The cast came off and I gazed at an arm so hairy I thought I was becoming a gorilla, and then... nothing. Elbow stayed at 90 degrees. Stuck there. Muscles disappeared tendons shrunk... No amount of force would straighten it out. And there was a bend where the bone was set.  Took another two months before it was moderately normal again.

Now I'm going to have to learn to live left handed.  It should keep me from boredom, but. Anyway, it's a minor problem compared to some, that others face. I'll try not to moan too much.

My blogreaders will barely notice the difference. I do mean to post stuff. just left handedly.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Humerus? Not so funny, really....

Today, I had an interesting experience.  Just before we moved from the old house, I had become aware of a shoulder injury, pain, ache, restriction of movement. so I treated it with ibuprofen, tried not to do the ouchy stuff, like lifting my arm high or rotating it outward, assuming whatever I'd done while shifting heavy boxes and furniture would heal on its own. 5+ months  later, I'm forced to admit that it won't.
So I went to see a doctor, and was referred to a sports medicine clinic, where after examination and x-rays, I was told I have a displaced shoulder joint, caused by a rotator-cuff injury.

So today I was having an MRI scan, to show the exact nature and extent of the damage.
First (well, after a clipboard worth of forms and an eye-watering financial transaction), I was
positioned under an x-ray machine, while a doctor pumped my shoulder joint full of a gadolinium contrast fluid. There was some anaesthesia too, so the needle sliding into the shoulder joint capsule was not too bad, but it's wearing off now and I'd like to bite somebody.
But the MRI.... Magnetic Resonance Imaging... Essentially, you're shoved into a very small hole in a large doughnut. And surrounded by a humongously powerful magnetic field It's certainly powerful enough to suck steel furniture in...

 Pictures via

You are carefully positioned, warned that it's noisy, given earplugs and industrial earmuffs, the operator leaves the room, and a noisy chaos begins. I was told that about ten percent of people are so claustrophobic they can't tolerate it. Well, I've been a plumber. I've gone through holes in floors, walls and ceilings, where there's no room to turn round or roll over.  And I've weaseled myself into tight spaces under vehicles and in engine bays, where despite not being able to move much, I've been trying to weld, or undo a gearbox's bolts. 
So, as the magnetic field oscillated my hydrogen atoms, for what seemed a long time, I was drowsing and comfortably musing about all manner of unimportant trivia.
This procedure was quite untroubling, if you're ever referred for one, it's not something to be scared of.

The scan results will go straight to my doctor, and in a couple of days I should get an appointment to find out what's next. But, he's already told me, it'll probably mean surgery. 


In the meantime, more ibuprofen and on with the painting of walls!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Sirens of Titan.

"The Sirens of Titan" was the title of a science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut, first published in 1959... so are the days of future past.

Al Stewart

I was drawn by the sirens of Titan
Carried along by their call
Seeking for a way to enlighten
Searching for the sense of it all
Like a kiss on the wind I was thrown to the stars
Captured and ordered in the army of Mars
Marching to the sound of the drum in my head
I followed the call
Only to be Malachi Constant
I thought I came to this earth
Living in the heart of the moment
With the riches I gained at my birth
But here in the yellow and blue of my days
I wander the endless Mercurian caves
Watching for the signs the Harmonians make
The words on the walls

I was drawn by the sirens of Titan
And so I came in the end
Under the shadow of Saturn
With statues and birds for my friends
Finding a home at the end of my days
Looking around I've only to say
I was the victim of a series of accidents
As are we allI was drawn by the sirens of Titan (as are we all)
As are we all
I was drawn by the sirens of Titan (as are we all)
As are we all...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Curses! Foiled again!

via Laughing Squid...

("Curses! Foiled Again!" was a catchphrase for Muttley's sidekick, 'Rick Rastardly' Hehehehehe!)