Sequoia semper vierens ‘forever living’

Ancient California redwoods decimated by poachers who are hacking out giant burl’s to sell on to furniture makers. Northern California park officials say that poachers are endangering 1,000=year-old coastal redwoods as by hacking off chunks of their wood, mostly to buy drugs or get them through tough financial times.article-0-1DA119C400000578-291_636x382The poachers are after giant gnarled knots on the tree called burl’s where the interesting grain fetches more money. Concerned park rangers say the giant scars leaves the 1,000-year-old organism vulnerable to fire and disease.article-0-1DA12DA400000578-742_306x423 California has shut down long stretches of state park during the night, when the poachers tend to strike. The beautiful redwood burl wood can be sold to make anything from pricy furniture to souvenirs. 

Poachers-hacking-hunks-ancient-California-redwoods-sell-valuable-wood.

Jungle rules should be applied to those caught ‘poaching!’ They should be chained to the tree they hacked and have a gallon of honey poured over them. If they survive three days ‘then’ arrest and charge them.                  Yours Aye.

From cotton ball to T shirt…

white ripe cotton field ready for harvestIt is an item we all own at least one of, which is worn by every age group throughout the world; the humble T shirt… America exports more raw cotton than any other country in the world, and imports more crisp T shirts than any other country. Does it make economic sense? Yes it does! And the following collection of video clips will explain why. How T-shirts Are Made, which helps third world economies survive.                        Yours Aye.tshirt blog

Cars for women, camels for men!

Is the saying used in Saudi Arabia when Sheikh Salah al-Luhaydan said “If woman drove they would damage their pelvis, and their children could suffer ‘clinical’ disorders”! In 2011 Muslim scholars said a relaxation of the ban would see both men and women turn to homosexuality and pornography. He went on to tell the Saudi news website sabq.org: “Driving could have a reverse physiological impact. Physiological science and functional medicine studied this and found that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find that women who continuously drive cars, their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees.”article-2436607-18597A1900000578-326_634x416 The startling conclusions were drawn in 2011 at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former Professor at the King Fahd University.

In the report Professor Subhi described sitting in a coffee shop in an unnamed Arab state. “All the women were looking at me, one made a gesture that made it clear she was available, this is what happens when women are allowed to drive.” Their report assessed the possible impact of repealing the ban in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are not allowed behind the wheel. It was delivered to all 150 members of the Shura Council, the country’s legislative body. The report also warned that allowing women to drive would ‘provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce’. Within ten years of the ban being lifted there would be ‘no more virgins’ in the Islamic kingdom. 

Better not tell that to 93-year-old Elinor Otto, who works as a riveter on US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft, at a Californian Boeing plant. Elinor first picked up a riveting gun during World War II, the original ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Elinor is out of bed every morning at 4-am, gets a coffee and newspaper, before starting work by 6-am; parking as far away from the plant as possible so she can walk over as part of her morning exercise. article-2434889-185171D300000578-998_634x358

Row Away from the Rocks

Pray to God, but row away from the rocks. –Hunter S. Thompson

The Starlet Bandits!

There are certain news stories that can elicit groans with any new development. Anthony Weiner is one, although his expiration date is rapidly disappearing in the rear-view mirror. Here is another one that I can see getting old, quick:

LA Hookers, the Starlet Bandits

The Starlet Bandits

Mallory Mnichowski was nervous. Nineteen and pregnant, she had never robbed a bank before. Robert St. John was worried, too. He was her pimp and, on this morning, her getaway driver. He was sure she would screw it up.

Mallory’s, like, the last person you would send in a bank,” he confides.

But he wasn’t about to go in himself — not with all the cameras in there. And neither was Kadara Kilgo, the streetwise hooker who had helped him cook up the idea.

The local media here in SoVeryCal is calling ‘em the Starlet Bandits.

San Francisco Shooting

SOMA stand for South of Market, a trendy San Francisco neighborhood. And a jewelry heist (or some such crime) went bad yesterday at the San Francisco Giftcenter & Jewelrymart:

A bloodied gunman suspected of killing two women and seriously wounding a man at a shopping center in a crowded San Francisco neighborhood was arrested after opening fire on police officers, authorities said.

Officers encountered the suspect Friday outside the San Francisco Giftcenter & Jewelrymart in the trendy South of Market area. At first they were not sure if the man, who had blood on his clothes, was a shooting victim or a suspect, police Chief Greg Suhr said.

The man, whose name was not released, opened fire at officers while retreating into a restaurant, Suhr said. The man kept shooting until he apparently ran out of ammunition and surrendered, Suhr said.

Officers did not return fire because the sidewalks were crowded with shoppers and residents.

The suspect was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. A gun and a knife were recovered from the scene.

Pardon me for the eye for an eye, but I often hope that the perps get waxed in cases like this. They killed innocent folks and sometimes I don’t entirely trust the judicial system.

Janet Napolitano, UC President

I heard this news before I read it. And I prayed inside (and outside) that it was just a rumor. Or that the UC that this scoop mentions is the University of Cincinnati. No such luck. Guess who the new president of the University of California system is? Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona. No joke. Do go to the link and vote either your pleasure or displeasure. I’ll keep my vote on my alma mater secret…

Mirror mirror on the wall

article-2357691-1AB1579A000005DC-526_636x387Apart from using the reflection of one to assist in my ‘face shave’ first thing in the morning, I rarely see my other self. Even the full length ones that came with the fitted wardrobes are really just dust catchers, unless I have to knot a tie, or choose a suit/jacket now and again. Is a mirror a vanity thing, or some thing we need to to reassure ourselves (that as a single person we still exist)? Though I did use one earlier to assist in the removal of a piece of grit (medical aid now added to the list)
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Not so long ago I watched a very pretty young woman walk into a street lamp, the result of turning her head sideways as she admired her own reflection in a large plate glass window. It resulted in a split eyebrow (snapped sunglasses), claret-a-gushing down her now ruined top, and the indignity of sitting on the pavement dazed and sobbing. Fortunately a gallant waiter sprinted from Cafe Nero, and without any business intent pushed the advert boat out in full by placing direct pressure to the wound, using a quality CN tea towel as an ice pad. The knight in Cafe Nero armour even walked her to an outside Cafe Nero stool to rest her weary bottom on, as they awaited the arrival of an ambulance. And yes, she did keep checking her reflection in the plate glass window, the ‘Hero from Nero’ gallantly stayed by her side throughout.feature3

Under the circumstances the woman in question may well require the bare minimum of ‘reconstructive surgery’ as the wound was quite deep and long (superglue as opposed to stitches). Which is understandable and practical. What I will never understand is why people without a medical requirement go to the extreme of ‘full cosmetic surgery’. Vanity, pride, narcissism, self-importance, conceit, arrogance? Or just plain stupidity, especially when their career depends on facial expressions i.e. Am I REALLY the only Hollywood star who hasn’t become a waxwork horror? Frasier’s Jane Leeves says the unsayable Surely these highly paid theatrical actors can afford an abundance of mirrors spread about their abode? This Post was not sponsored by Cafe Nero.   Yours Aye.

Just Your Normal California La-Di-Da

Yesterday, I left my house groggy-eyed. Before you tsk-tsk at my grog-infused eyes, know that it was 0438 and I was headed to the gym. Not fifty feet from me, two of San Diego’s Finest coppers stood behind their police-cars. Barricading off the cul-de-sac one driveway above me. I, vewy vewy caaawfully, got into my car and drove off to the gym. Still no word on what that was all about.

Carl's Jr LolzToday, while at Carl’s Jr, while ordering a low-carb Western Bacon Cheeseburger and sweet potato fries, the kid behind the counter apologized profusely and diffusely (with spittle) that he was unable to offer me a military discount. I smiled and told him no problem. Wide-eyed, he announced to me: I am just about to go and enlist myself. I encouraged him, chatting briefly about the joys of linguinism (the practice of linguistics.) I have not taken the AVSAB yet. I smiled, mildly corrected it to ASVAB. And later when he delivered my lettuce-wrapped hambuggie, he asked me whether I knew so-and-so. He’s a recruiter. He recruited my dad into the Air Force. I thought about the name and shook my head. Hmm, figures. My dad is 61, he added. (No further commentary at this time. . .)

John Zawahri Goes Off in SanMo

The SanMo police finally released the name of the insane jerk who shot up a Santa Monica sidewalk. His name is John Zawahri, close in spelling to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Brain half of Pinky and the Brain. (Osama Bin Laden was, of course, Pinky.) Considering that his brother was Chris Zawahri and his father, Samir Zawahri, I doubt John was a jihadi. All three were killed in the incident.

5th Grade Graduations… I don’t get it.

kidsgraduateI have the day off, so I tagged along on the walk with my saintly bride and my motley 3rd & 4th grade sons – for the last Friday morning ‘lineup’ (A dubious name for an event) at their elementary school.

Crikey! I didn’t know what I was in for….

Granted I make these sojourns typically quarterly, sometimes more often if I choose to forego my bi-weekly barber visit (a most sacred thing – in fact I’m missing it right now, but you’ll see as I muddle my way through this – I can’t bring myself to go anywhere just yet).  Anyway, showing up occasionally gets me points with both my little men & my saintly bride.  I figure hey, win-win, right?

…The ‘lineup’ – excellent opportunities to observe the latest PTA-Mom infighting and rivalries, chuckle at the routine efforts to outspend each other on couture workout gear or sun dresses or expensive leather purses, perhaps be invited to the ritual Friday ‘Lunch at the Winery’ that the mom’s have (I don’t accept those anymore – another blog post, perhaps), catch up on the latest gossip about so and so’s kid’s recent diagnosis of ADHT, ODD, Chronic Oppositional Disorder (COD), or bedwetting – whatever. It’s usually good stuff, and I only have to endure it for 20 minutes or so, then onto the rest of my life, maybe even a late showing at the barber (Hell, I can often do both same day if I work it right).

Well, piss poor planning as they say…  I failed to consider the fact that today was the Final ‘lineup’ of the year, which had numerous painful consequences…

First, a complete and thorough recognition of every child in the school’s tiniest and most (in)significant achievents – from proper hygiene to the kid that walked the most miles before school starts… and every single kid that did something/anything in between.  Holy Crap! – I mean really! We need to recognize little Timmy because he walked a total of 5 (count them) 5 miles over the last 250 days?  Deep Sigh… it only got worse…

Next was the recognition for those that did something in the last month, or week – Coyote of the Week/Month is VERY important. Although, I think I may have figured out this gig – Coyote of the (____) is really a way to recognize under-achievers so that they get some deposits in their self-esteem bank.  I suspect this because my young men have NEVER been selected for Coyote of the anything – Not in a total of 9 kid-years of Elementary School between the two of them.  Why? you ask? Well, it’s because they show up on time, behave properly, and excel in their academics. Pretty simple formula for being lumped right into anonymity in The People’s Republic of California Indoctrination (School) System.  Whoa! I may have went on a rant there… Sorry.

Finally, the coup-de-grace!  5th Grade Graduation!  This was the most amazing display of…well, I’m not sure what to call it… perhaps describing it will help you understand: Every single 5th Grader lined up in a row, each carrying a sack and a bouquet  Every single teacher, administrator, aide, and custodian lined up in row.  It looked like the end of the baseball game when the kids give a cheer and then each team high fives each other: “Good Game, Dodgers!” “Yeah, Good Game, Yankees!”

…ONLY FAR MORE AGONIZING AND SLOW! Every single kid hugged every single teacher, administrator, aide & custodian AND then offered them either a gift from their bag, or a rose from the bouquet… it took 30 minutes to run those rascals through the “Go love your teacher, give them gifts and thank them for offering you a mediocre-state dictated-common core – let’s make you dumber each year ‘education” gauntlet.

Not an actual picture of me

Not an actual picture of me

I say again! HOLY CRAP!  Then - Insult to Injury –  the Moms (my saintly bride included) all offered gifts to the teachers for their hard work and sacrifice. Every single Mom offered each teacher a gift – My son’s 3rd Grade teacher made off with a few hundred bucks in gift cards alone!

More insult – The kids have one week of school left, and talking to every teacher, I came away with: there is no ‘teaching’ planned. Each class will play games or watch movies all next week.  Huh?… I may become a Teacher, it sounds like a good gig – and you get summer’s off.

I’m flabbergasted. Utterly. Ciao for now…

Star Date May 2013: To Boldly go where he has never been before, ‘burp’

You see what happens when you take a Yorkshire Man out of Yorkshire for too long, he goes and gets corrupted in the good old USA.article-0-1A0F76FB000005DC-196_634x813

Patrick Stewart aged 72 has just eaten his first slice of Pizza! (Patrick my old mate, come on home, your fish & chip supper is waiting for you) 

    ‘I was hungover’: Patrick Stewart enjoys his FIRST EVER slice of pizza at the age of 72 after big night out with his fiancee Boldly eating…  

Can some one give him a nudge and tell him the Beatles have split up… ;-)

Yours Aye.

How to Ride a Bike

Cyclists can sometimes be their own worst enemies. I had to yell a month ago at four riders, taking up a whole lane on their expensive Felt cycles, to get over in a single-file line. They were chatting away, oblivious to the world. And three months ago, a family friend visited from New York. She made a turn into a hotel in Carlsbad and two cyclists hit her rental car from behind. They came around a turn too fast. Of course, I don’t condone what Emma Way did. She hit a cyclist and then tweeted about it. Bad form.

Conversations I Almost Had Today

Panera Bread four cheese

Panera: freshly baked

To the Panera counter kid: Yes, I knew you were stoned well before I gave you my order (of a large coffee and one of your delicious four cheese soufflés.) Honestly, I could not understand most of what you said, except for when you called me my man. Five times. It’s been a while since I’ve been around someone as baked as you were. I’m surprised your boss does not say anything to you. If I can be slightly presumptuous and offer you some tips? 1. Moderate your marijuana intake. 2. Don’t laugh at your own jokes so hardily. I do (sometimes) take that route myself, but I don’t live in Davy Jones’ hotbox like you do. 3. Speak louder, it was as if you were having a conversation with yourself, my man. 4. Go for a run before work. You may be able to earn your eyeballs back and you prolly miss those shiny things. 5. Your co-workers may not be direct, but if you and I worked together, my man, I would tell you to your face, that inhaling a bonfire-a-day is not a recipe for success. I’ll stop there. Did you write those down? I know your short-term memory is shot and I want you to get your schtuff together. Oh and if you have the munchies, my man, try that four cheese soufflé. They are mighty tasty, but you knew ‘dat.

REI Marin Bobcat

REI Marin Bobcat

To the REI counter girl: I’ve been going to REI since the early 1980s. No joke. It was my father’s favorite store. That Marin Bobcat that I rode today was perfect. It took me back to all the reasons why I love bikes so much. I’ve never owned one with suspension and that Suntour XCR-LO suspension fork had perfect balance. I can’t really say the same about that fixie that I rode, the Novara Buzz One Bike. It sucked. One gear jobbies are for hipsters. I just don’t like them. Now that Marin, that was the ticket. But there is something, counter girl, that I want to share with you. You and chatted briefly while I waited for you to set up your new cash register. I smiled and was certainly cordial. I’m a guy who can be friendly to anyone. That said, when you asked for my ID and I showed you my military identification card, you recoiled (in near revulsion) as if I were some brute. I’ve never quite had a reaction like that. Never. Is it not honorable to be in the military? I know REI is a little on the hippie side. And I know I was not in uniform, nor did I wear anything that said Navy. Just some ‘didas sweatpants and an Under Armor hoodie. So I was undercover. Yes, I know your store is near the beach (see the Panera counter kid for more on this.) But us in the military pump money into your’alls coffers. I could tell I caught you flat-footed and you felt flummoxed on your response. Anyway, love your store. You guys are the best.

iPod nanoTo the Apple Store Genius counter folks: Yes, you all made me wait eight minutes for my appointment. But no biggee. The fact that you let me trade in my iPod with the cracked screen for a new one was truly generous. And you only charged me half-price! I appreciate it. I find your general approach to staffing, store manners, and shop layout slightly creepy. Every time I go into an Apple Store, it is as if I were in East Europe, say in the late 80s. I’ll stop there because I’m a big fan of your products. Pretty neat that your company (with Tim Cook at the helm) hardly pays any taxes, whereas I shell out thousands. Oh, I should tell you, I exercised my steely self-resolve and refrained from setting this blog as the homepage on any of the several Macs and iPads I fiddled around with. I am, after all (despite how certain REI employees see me), a gentleman.

California, I will miss some things about ‘er when I deploy. Not everything.

Officer McGruff, Reporting as Ordered

I may be slowly turning into Officer McGruff. Tell me if I overreacted in any of these San Diego incidents:

-I am driving on the freeway. Normal I-15 traffic, cars are moving at 55 mph. I look over two lanes to the right and a kid in a hoodie is texting while he drives. He is not even looking up. No joke, my heart starts beating practically out of my uniform. I honk at him, he glances over. I point at him with two fingers and then I point at my eyes and then back at him. He does some weird hand gesture. Not that gesture. But something. He does put his phone down. I slow and follow him from a hundred feet for five miles or so. He finally gets off the freeway.

-Right down my street, two professional-looking cyclists are riding side-by-side on a road with very little shoulder. (They are lawyers or accountants or doctors, professionals. Not professional cyclists, surely. They do have all the latest gear though.) They are also chatting away, without a care in the world. I roll down my window and tell them to get single-file. They flick me off and go about their business as before. Then I see this happen in other places two more times in quick succession. Cyclists riding side-by-side.

-Just driving home today, two totally rad skaters (well, not rad at all) are skateboarding in the opposing lane against traffic. I honk as I go by and make the pushing motion. As in: get the freak over there, idiots. One of the skaters, who is wearing a ski cap in 78 degree weather, thinks I am waving and waves back. I shush him over. Maybe he gets it, maybe not.

Am I being nosy? I’ve had accidents on the road and don’t want to see others go through that mess. Do I need to mind my own business? Has this occurred in the past and I’ve been too nonchalant too see it? (This I doubt. I am non many things, but chalant is not one of them.) Am I becoming a curmudgeon?

Fight Video Teen Found Safe

The town of Carlsbad sits not far from my house. And my heart sank when I read the story of the Carlsbad teenager, Baileigh Karam. Several folks from my Navy command live in the neighborhood. It is safe and quiet. Recently, Baileigh was involved in a fight that was captured on a cell phone. And then she dissapeared. Good news, she is back with her family, Amber Alert and all.