Merchant Marine Captain Tom Wilder

Yesterday I was so tired that I fell asleep on a small bunk in a compartment next to the engine room. So tired that the clanking of the engine seemed to be in the far distance, I couldn’t even smell the heavy oil and heated diesel fumes that normally permeate the air, possibly because the heavy door to the compartment was closed.

The heat was almost unbearable; I was soaked to the skin, even though I had a small punkah-louvre above my head blowing a cool breeze over my body. The low audible hiss of air mixed with the rhythm of the far distant engine was enough to lull my tired bones back to sleep. A different noise brought my senses back to a dull awakening, it was the clanking of pipes, hot water pipes, expanding and gurgling with air trapped within; the same pipes that ran under the wooden frame of the bunk.         Click pic to enlarge…punkahlouvreAs I lay floating semi-conscious, another sound entered my head, a strange sound I’d never heard before… ‘pitter – patter – pitter – patter –  puff – puff  ~  pitter –patter – pitter – patter –  puff – puff ~ pitter – patter – pitter – patter –  puff – puff’ It was coming from beneath the wooden bunk? I slowly eased my self onto the warm deck and knelt down next the sliding storage door, and opened it.

There was Nipper running along the hot water pipes with his little paw’s making the noise ‘pitter – patter – pittter – patter’ then he quickly stopped to lift his front paws up so he could blow cold air on each of them ‘puff – puff’ I grabbed him and pulled him out just as the heavy compartment door opened; there stood Merchant Marine Captain Tom Wilder filling the whole door frame. In an unmistakable John Wayne drawl he said “So-I-see-yer-found-yer-dawg”? I stared at him as I held Nipper, except it wasn’t Captain Wilder, it actually was John Wayne… “Yes mate, I found him under my bunk” came my reply!bloodalley6I woke up from my dream with a jolt, (‘yes mate, to John Wayne’)? I was sweating, really sweating, I swung my legs around off the bed and put my feet onto the floor and sat up. The sun was just breaking and I was burning up, I needed a long gulp of water so I headed off along the landing to the bathroom. I could still hear clanking and banging, then I touched a radiator as it dawned on me… the central heating had kicked in for the first time since the last day of winter, and there was air trapped within the radiators and pipes. I must have brushed past the thermostat control prior to turning in (I had, and it was set up on 30 degrees)! Half dazed and disappointed, Nipper brought me back to reality by stretching up and raking his claws down the back of my legs, it looked like we were all going out for an early leg stretch around the fields.432Blood_AlleyBefore anyone recommends I need to see a trick cyclist psychiatrist, allow me to explain some thing. Prior to turning in I caught an old classic movie ‘Blood Alley’ with John Wayne & Lauren Bacall. What better way to accompany a film, except with a pot of tea, and cheese & crackers? After which, falling asleep exhausted with a clattering central heating system on full blast, stood side by side with John Wayne, fighting Chinese communists on the dangerous waters of the orient in a clapped out paddle steamer, with trusty Nipper only a whistle away.images  

It doesn’t get much better than that, unless I watch ‘The Quiet Man’ before I turn in tonight… with a pot of tea, and cheese & crackers…

Yours Aye. 

Profuse apologies to one and all

My profuse apologies to one and all for the shortfall of browsing materialUnfortunately today has been spent pushing an elephant up the stairs. It started this morning just after I opened the mail, one letter of which was from my power supply company dated ‘Thursday 22nd August 2013’ Delivered four weeks late?
Due to essential maintenance in your area the power supply to your property will be cut off between the hours of 9-am to 4:30-pm on Thursday 12th September. We are sorry for any inconvenience this will cause
Just then the power chopped, plunging the house into total silence, the water boiling in the kettle, ebbed and died, the sliced bread in the toaster remained as sliced bread, the morning news popped off, and came back on as the early evening news. My mobile phone that was down to 33% remained so, until the magical national grid button was pressed once more.
Thank you apple for inventing the ten hour battery ipad, the device kept me sane throughout the day. My canine pals would also like to thank my power company, as they thoroughly enjoyed their additional field time. (Truth be known, so did I, it was a great break totally unexpected) 😉            Yours Aye.

The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man

Good ol’ boy Shelby Stanga has a role on Ax Men, a History Channel series about dudes who collect logs. Now the Louisiana native also has his very own show coming out:

Shelby “Swamp Man” Stanga, star of History’s “Ax Men” and Atchafalaya Swamp celebrity, is getting his own reality series on the network: “The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man” debuts at 8 p.m. Aug. 6.

For the past four seasons, viewers of HISTORY’s hit series AX MEN followed the exploits of Shelby “Swamp Man” Stanga, the larger-than-life character who lives and logs in southern Louisiana. Born on the bayou, Shelby answers to no one and plays by his own rules. Most people think of the swamps as a place ridden with critters, mud and danger. For Shelby, it’s home.

Shelby Swamp Man Stanga, star of History’s Ax Men, and Atchafalaya Swamp, The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man
Shelby Swamp Man Stanga, star of History’s Ax Men, and Atchafalaya Swamp, The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man

Now, viewers will get to see what this legend of the Atchafalaya Swamp does to survive when he’s not diving for sinker cypress in gator-infested waters in THE LEGEND OF SHELBY THE SWAMP MAN, a new series premiering Tuesday, August 6 at 9pm ET on HISTORY.

Oh yeah, I’ll watch it. I think the networks secretly make fun of great Americans like Shelby. But the Swamp Man’ll get the last laugh with his paycheck. . .

Buying a Car at Max Motors

Being in the Navy, you get a chance to mix with all sorts of folks that were not from your neighborhood. I’ve had shipmates that were rodeo riders, drug dealers (self-confessed), newspaper writers, phds, and car salesmen. Like Mark Muller (Max Motors) from the show God, Guns & Automobiles:

God, Guns & Automobiles
God, Guns & Automobiles

The show chronicles the daily activities at Max Motors, a small-town car dealership run by Mark Muller with his business partner, brother, (and radio host) Erich “Mancow” Muller. The show is filmed in and around the rural town of Butler, Bates County, Missouri, which is in the southern portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area. Mark Muller retired from his consulting business at age 42 and moved from Kansas City to Butler but soon became bored with retirement and established the business in Butler in 2006, naming it for his first son, Max. The business has since expanded to include a second dealership in Nevada, Missouri in addition to an auto towing business and finance business. Mark’s younger brother Erich has been a silent partner in the various business enterprises for years but recently began taking a more active role — sometimes leading to conflict.
-Mark Muller: Founder and majority owner of Max Motors.
-Erich “Mancow” Muller: Brother of Mark and co-owner of Max Motors.
-Max Muller: Mark’s oldest son and namesake of the auto business.
-Rod Berry: Nicknamed “Hot Rod”, salesman Rodney Berry is known not only for his sales ability but for unusual behavior. For example he once drove his wife’s new car into a lake to see if the headlights worked underwater.
-Jason Claspill: Mark’s personal assistant, the former funeral director and Marine fills a variety of roles around Max Motors. In his spare time he serves as personal MMA fight trainer for fellow employee Brandon Huckaby.
-Lisa Drewing
-Matt Harvey: Considered one of Max Motors top sales staff, Matt “Cowboy” Harvey is a retired professional rodeo bullrider. However, as shown in Episode 2, Harvey has an alcohol abuse problem (having been charged with at least three DUI’s) due in part to dealing with severe pain from his rodeo injuries (17 surgeries).
-Brandon Huckaby: “Mongo” Huckaby is the dealership’s internet sales specialist. In his off-hours he is a former top-ranked ISCF cage fighter recovering from injury and training for future competition.
-Bill Myers
-Larry VanZandt: A former military policeman and corrections officer, Larry has worked with Mark Muller for nearly two decades. He is the General Manager of Max Motors

I’ve listened to Erich “Mancow” Muller’s show Mancow’s Morning Madhouse. Neat to see his family doing well…

Dave Hester’s Anti-Slapp Motion

A SLAPP motion is a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. Essentially, the motion assists in burying someone in legal fees, dooming their case. . .

Dave Hester, from Storage Wars, recently lost a lawsuit with A&E and the issue of SLAPP came up in the process:

Storage Wars ex-star David Hester must now pick up some of A&E’s legal bill after losing the first round of a lawsuit that contends the highly rated reality TV series is rigged. At a hearing Friday, a Los Angeles judge ordered Hester to pay $122,692 of the defendants’ legal costs.

In December, Hester sued A&E and Original Productions with allegations that producers planted items of memorabilia that influenced the outcome of the auction-themed show. Hester says he was let go after complaining, which his attorney says constitutes wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Further, Hester claimed that A&E and Original engaged in unfair business practices insofar as producers allegedly making it appear that he was less skillful than his competition and thus prompting other vendors to stop doing business with his shops.

A&E responded by saying that Hester was attempting to portray himself as a crusading whistleblower when really he was upset at how contract negotiations were going to return to the series. The defendants also brought an anti-SLAPP motion, saying that Storage Wars was protected by the First Amendment and that Hester was unlikely to win.

In March, A&E was successful in getting the judge to reject the unfair business practices claim. The lawsuit proceeds, but because A&E was victorious on its anti-SLAPP motion, it was entitled to attorney fees and costs.

The defendants submitted $181,457 — or $138,194 for A&E, incurred by its attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine; and $43,263 for Original, incurred by its attorneys at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.

A&E was paying its lawyers hourly rates ranging from $260 to $485 to work on the case while Original was paying $370 to $485. (There were separate expenses for paralegals.)

To beat Hester’s claim, the defendants argued that courts have only applied “unfair business practices” to commercial speech, not expressive works like television programs.

The defendant’s lawyers including THR Power Lawyer Kelli Sager collectively spent 354 hours on the anti-SLAPP motion, which included having to refute Hester’s contention that A&E’s press release constituted commercial speech. Plus, they say they spent 79 hours for the fee motion.

It is an interesting process, fighting or trying to level a SLAPP allegation.

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)

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.

The aromatics of Socialism

Those who thought the pungent smell of corruption was bad from Nicolas Sarkozey and his government, have just woken up to yet another stench, which is not coming from the sewers of Socialist France. The hypocritical government of the grand Socialist President Francois Hollande has been caught at it again.Francoise Hollande  Hollande government facing new tax evasion scandal as ex-banker turns on 15 ‘big name’ politicians with secret Swiss accounts “French president Francois Hollande’s socialist government is facing another major tax fraud scandal after a former banker this week revealed a list of 15 ‘big name’ politicians with secret Swiss accounts”. What is it with these champagne socialists? Why don’t they just come clean and explain who they really are, and what they really stand for. It would appear that socialist Presidents always get found out in the end!

Yours Aye.

A pot of tea & savouries

Modern FamilyEarlier yesterday I had the wind taken out of my sails, as I was presented with an image of a like-minded doppleganger, or at least I think that’s what happened? I met up with a mate in a local café, for our usual (put the world to right) meeting over a pot of tea and savouries. Being a few minutes adrift, I arrived to find my good oppo knee deep in an assortment of sausage rolls, corned beef slices, and home made cake (the honour of choice and purchase falls to the first man across the threshold). Formalities over, I took my seat and assumed the role of ‘mother’ and poured out the luscious dark strong liquid.

Me and the missus have come to a decision“! Say’s he, looking morose as he surveyed the calorific choice in front of him. My heart missed a beat as his words sunk in, they have been together for many years, happily married… Shrugging my shoulders and calling upon memories of combat triage, I immediately stepped up and came to his aid “Mate, your still fighting fit, got all of your own teeth, and a full head of hair; all you require is an up to date wardrobe of clothes. You’ll only be on the market for a short while, and then you can”…… He picked the largest of the corned dog slices and looked at me, a huge  grin appeared from ear to ear “Not that sort of decision you clown. We have come to the decision that you are ‘Jay Pritchett’ from the TV show”! I obviously looked bemused (and relieved) as he giggled like a schoolgirl at my faux pas. “Who the bloody hell is Jay Pritchett“?  I asked, composing myself, feeling a little out of step. He looked at me as though I had two heads. “You know, the guy in Modern Family, the American TV show, Ed O’Neill, he plays the part of Jay Pritchett” ~ “Who, who“? Say’s I, sounding like an owl as I twisted my head to one side, which provided more ammunition for merriment. Ed O'Neill is Jay Pritchett

And so the gurning halfwit rattled on about ‘my’ TV character, and almost choked on a piece of corned dog as he explained the show, as well as the goings on of each character within it. As he continued his gurgling banter I googled Ed O’Neall and Jay Pritchett; the actor/character appeared. Ahhh him” I said, pointing at my phone, “Is that Jay Pritchett“? ~ Yes, him, his personality, word for word, the shrugs, the facial expressions, its you, to a T“! ~ “But I look nothing like him” I wailed…

He went on to explain that when he and his ‘missus’ watch the program, they both place me as the character ‘Jay Pritchett’. My lost-look-arched-eyebrow-expression had him giggling again, initially controlled, and then laughing so infectiously for so long, that he contaminated both tables either side of us. Part way through his teary eyed explanation he turned to the now giggling and bemused strangers, and pointed at me saying “Jay Pritchett-Modern Family“, with his voice trailing off to a high hysterical girly squeak, due to the air being squeezed from his lungs. All I could do was put on a stupid bewildered face, smile, nod politely to each table, and then stare at my boots, whilst pretending I knew what he was talking about (obviously the two occupied tables did)! When the lull came I looked at the strangers and calmly said “He’s just split up with his wife, it’s his way of dealing with it“, which set him off again, with the strangers following his lead?

It was the longest short meeting I have ever endured, my whispered promise of “cease now, or I will slap you daft” brought him back to earth… Having quaffed our fare, and placed certain parts of the world to right we departed our venue. ‘Helium head’ went on his way still grinning like a cheshire cat, leaving me feeling a trite bemused, he certainly had the edge on me, as I have never watched any episode of ‘Modern Family’. That is until late afternoon, when I eventually found one episode screening on SKY TV. I sat bewildered, trying to make the comparison. During the short ad break, I called a good friend and asked if she had ever watched ‘Modern Family’. “Absolutely love it, why?” ~ “Ahem! Do I remind you of ‘Jay Pritchett”? After a short silence she started laughing, “Oh my God, he is you, you are him”! I quickly explained what happened earlier, and she also headed off into rapturous laughter.  (Points to note readers; for a start I am a lot younger, I weigh in at 189Ib, and I have a thick head of hair). Having thanked my friend (the laughing hyena) I consoled myself with a warm pot of tea and the second half of ‘Modern Family’. In truth it may well grow on me, as the slick humour appeals, though it is early days yet, and it could have been worse, i.e. Phil Dunphy worse! 

Yours Aye.

The Navy Goes on Shark Tank

made up of Robert Herjavec, Kevin O'Leary (Mr. Wonderful), Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, and Kevin Harrington. Mary Beth and her husband, CDR John Lugo,Shark Tank is a television show that helps needy entrepreneurs get funding for their projects. Folks like Mary Beth Lugo pitch their ideas to the Shark team, made up of Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful), Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, and Kevin Harrington. Mary Beth and her husband, CDR John Lugo, invented KaZAM, a bike that teaches balance to young children…

The Bee Gees and Staying Alive

Vinnie Jones_300x293The British Heart Foundation ‘pumped’ out a TV advert last year that featured Vinnie Jones, playing the part of a gangster; who demonstrates a CPR procedure that assists some one who has stopped breathing through a heart attack “we need a body~ and here’s one I made earlier“! A humorous clip, which has had startling results since it was shown on main line TV. Vinnie Jones’ hard and fast Hands-only CPR (funny short film) (full .. .Sharon Thorneywork a 42 year old mother of three children, witnessed Terrence Holly a 72 year old, collapse to the floor suffering a massive heart attack.Terry Holly, Sharon Thorneycroft Her action saved his life, which was all due to the British Heart Foundation, the Bee Gees, and Vinnie Jones cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Mother-of-three saves grandfather’s life by singing ‘Stayin’ Alive’ while giving him CPR on a bus Hands only, you only kiss the missus on the lips.” No problem Vinnie mate, anything you say…

Yours Aye.

What do “The Voice” and Uncle Joe Stalin Have in Common?

voiceSun Tzu (pronounced Sun Zway, I think) said “all Warfare is Deception.” I like Sun Tzu, or at least I like the idea of Sun Tzu – I mean, anyone that’s been dead for millennia and is still selling books is all right with me- I am a right proper Capitalist American Pig after all).  I’m not very smart, so I often have a hard time understanding his work (especially when I read it in original Chinese – mostly because I don’t read Chinese).  As I sit here with my saintly bride and beloved children, watching “The Voice” – a perrenial family favorite – that good ol’ Sun Tzu quotation popped into my head.  Only it went something like this “All Television is Deception” – Hmmm, I guess I have to explain that now… if I can.

I have a theory – the purpose of All (American) Television is to deceive the (American) public – to make us look somewhere else, to distract us.


Frankly, in my opinion, Uncle Joe won somewhere in the early 70’s. (Holy Crap you say – where’s this guy going with this?).

Stalin knew that the only way to defeat America was to change the American Spirit – to change American Values.

How do you do that!?  Think about it. In the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s the only media games in town were radio and moving pictures, and movies were the future. Uncle Joey knew the power of propaganda, he’d been using it effectively for decades. Add to that a gentle, constant, deliberate increasing liberalization of education; Joey knew the power of re-education, he’d been using it effectively for decades. … I’ll talk more about education in another post (oh, wait that was my last one…)

And, it worked. The Values of Americans are now different. We’re more worried about watching the ‘reality’ that is beamed into our lives at all hours – reality in the form of survivors, singers, home improvers, swamp people, preppers, lobstermen, storm-chasers  fashionistas, and on and on and on – literally several thousand channels of choices to take America’s minds off of and our eyes away from what’s going on around us.

I call it the Grand Coliseum, in reference to the way the Romans, near the end of their Empire’s days built the Coliseum to present grand entertainments, in the form of men and animals killing each other (sound familiar? – The Walking Dead or a hundred other various graphic, destructive and highly addictive ways to keep your eyes on the T.V. and mind off of what’s going on around you…) Those grand entertainments were designed to keep the mob focused on anything other than the fact that the borders were crumbling, the Vandals were at the gates there were not two roman coins to rub together in the treasury…

Gotta go, the final live eliminations are happening on “The Voice”

… Boy, I hope the Swon Brothers win! The Voice’s first duo winners! – can you imagine! How exciting.

Jewel in a Ring of Fire

Hey, you guys catch Jewel and Matt Ross as June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash in “Ring of Fire?” Sure, it was on Lifetime (Television for Women®), but Jewel rocked it. You probably wonder who showed ol’ John-boy all his licks. Search no further, my friend:

Entertainer Johnny Cash sings a duet with a Navy lieutenant during his performance for military personnel at the naval station.
Entertainer Johnny Cash sings a duet with a Navy lieutenant during his performance for military personnel at the naval station.

The teevee movie was based in John Carter Cash’s Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash.

Uh Oh, What’s Sons of Guns Up To?

‘Tis Friday the 19th and that means that Sons of Guns is back with season four. And today’s episode brought a WWII PIAT, a Russian cannon and a M36 tank:

The show — which centers on Red Jacket Firearms, a custom gun-making company in Louisiana — is set to return at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, April 19.

Stephanie Ford, Will Hayden, Charlie, Kris, and Flem from Sons of Guns
Stephanie Ford, Will Hayden, Charlie, Kris, and Flem from Sons of Guns.

Will Hayden, his daughter Stephanie, Joe, Kris,Charlie, Flem and the rest of Red Jacket staff are returning for season four, which will see the crew handling major firepower, including a rare handheld WWII PIAT, a Russian cannon and a M36 tank.

Meanwhile, Vince, a former employee, resurfaces, and his reappearance as a possible competitor could spell trouble for Red Jacket. The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive look at the premiere.

Sons of Guns and other shows including History’s Top Shot and National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers came under scrutiny in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.

A similarly themed series on Discovery, American Guns, was canceled months earlier, mostly because of its ratings performance.

Do we really have to talk about Newtown? Can we not have a day go by without mentioning this tragedy? Tens of thousands of people die each year in car accidents, why not exploit this?

Where in the Walking Dead?

Someone put together a Walking Dead Google Map indicating places around Georgia where the show was filmed. I kinda had a hankering for Herschel’s Farm, as the kind of place to retire to in a coupla decades.

Hershel Greene's Farm father of Maggie & Beth
Hershel Greene’s Farm father of Maggie & Beth

 It is located in (real life) in Senoia, Georgia for those of you wondering.

My Splendid Life, 灿烂人生

Language and cultural walnut that you are, you were probably wondering where to find My Splendid Life (or 灿烂人生 as it is known to the Taiwanese locals) on the web. Fear not! We got your back:

Splendid Life, 灿烂人生 , Jerry Yan and Chen Yan Fei
Splendid Life, 灿烂人生 , Jerry Yan and Chen Yan Fei

Qing Tian’s (Yedda Chen) lost her father in a accident. Her entire wealth was taken by her stepmother. She than found a job at a restaurant where she met Yu Hao (Jerry Yan). Yu Hao’s grandmother, the owner of the company becomes a fond of Qing Tian.

Wanting to inspire Yu Hao who is not motivated to run the business, the grandmother announced Qing Tian as the heir of her wealth. Yu Hao & Qing Tian then got into a fierce competition. Meanwhile, the two starts to discover more merits of each other.

Ah, a lite frothy series. Kind of like Walking Dead minus the zombies. And the guns. And…