Sunday, 30 August 2009

Moving house

I am moving to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to move house.
The extra room would be useful so I can have friends over for meals that aren't buffet style. To have a proper study/office might help organise my time so I don't find myself working quite so late so often, watch less television with it acting as background noise, do more activities if I have more time. It is certainly the correct time to move with the deflation in the prices affecting larger houses to a higher proportion than smaller houses and interest very low meaning savings aren't growing at any rate. The issue then becomes what I am looking for. The first time I was looking for something I could afford that was in a decent area and I think I did well. This second time there are more decisions to make.

1. Stay in the same area - within walking distance of my friends and the city centre. However it is busy, noisy, houses are quite small and I don't want to lose any more wing mirrors if I can avoid it.

2. Move to the suburbs. A bit further out means I am still in Norwich but outside walking distance of the city centre but it is more peaceful

3. A move to a pretty village. Most of them are in the school catchment which is a minor issue but am I a village person. Is this the end of ambition (even more than living in Norfolk anyway). Could I survive with just the local shop, pub and the cricket team close by.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


I always like the concept of a Wii using actual movement to control the game but the games looked a bit rubbish. I thought I might get one if I ever saw a cricket game available never thinking this might happen as it is a Japanese manufacturer and the largest games markets are USA and Japan. Now there is an Ashes game and I tempted even if the graphics are a bit cartoon like and a Wii 2 is not far away.


What a glorious farce where no-one looks good

President Gaddaffi looks silly for thanking for amongst others the Queen. I might have believed Gordon Brown but by lumping in the Queen we know that they actually had no business in it

The Scottish government look weak on terrorism although very compassionate

The head of the FBI looks silly as it turns out it might be his organisation or the CIA with-held evidence showing Iran to be responsible that made the Scottish government fear an appeal.

Obama looks silly as he criticised a decision that was made in consultation with his State department

UK politicians look silly for criticising the application of the law of their own country

Gaddaffi's son looked silly welcoming him home as a hero as Libya relies on petrochemical dollars more than is good for them.

So no-one looks good and it will get worse if the cancer is not as serious as diagnosed. On the other hand if he is innocent...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

When I was in the US the debate on changes to medical care was huge but the anoying thing was the misinformation around especially of other health care systems around the world. For instance

The lie:
Stephen Hawking (who has Lou Gehrig's disease) would not receive treatment in Britain, which has a government-run health-care system.

The liars:
An editorial in Investor's Business Daily on July 31 claimed: "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service [NHS] would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

The debunking: Hawking, who is British, receives intensive treatment for his degenerative motor neuron disease at a local Cambridge hospital. Upon hearing the rumors of his non-treatment, the prizewinning theoretical physicist told The Guardian, "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

It is tough to make decisions when opponents are deliberately spreading misinformation.

A Level Results Day

All good - everyone got what they needed. Have a job for another year.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Holiday Awards

Most unusual food eaten - Alligator - has potential but this chef needed cooking lessons.

Most unusual food seen - Key Lime Pie on a stick - take a slice of Key Lime Pie - freeze it, dip it into chocolate - serve in the style of an ice lolly.

Award for hope over experience - Southern US - just when you seem on the brink of being a success along comes Hurricane.... and it is back to square 1.

Best advert - Mussels, great legs and exquisite tails and just wait till you see the waitresses

Worst advert - Wendy's - we save you money but bragging about doing away with restaurant atmosphere, plates, cutlery etc.

Best Radio Station - Bob in Eastern North Carolina

Most boring city - Toronto (soul -less at best)

Worst seats - Rogers Centre Toronto - knee high bolt sticking out from the chair in front- still have the marks a month later

Best hotel - Duke Tower in Durham - lovely room and a nice courtyard layout with pool and giant chess set

Best Tour Guide - Faith in Charleston - knowledgeable and interesting as well as aware of the needs of the people listening such as shade - edged out the tour guide for the capitol of Virginia who was also very good but told us about Nancy Astor being elected to the House of Lords!!

Worst tour guide - Ramon in Miami - interesting but no point telling us all the things that are going to then be repeated by the guide at the attraction.

Best Attraction Improv Comedy show in New York

Worst Attraction - Gator World in the Everglades - tacky and expensive

Must pack item - insect repellent

Most abused item - Rover the case - lost and then broken - maybe terminally so

Least well organised people - Delta (check in was a series of every changing queues with people in the same queue for different things and no-one knowing what they where actually queueing) or Amtrak


Currently back in Schipol, jet-lagged and waiting for the connection to Norwich. I would like to thank the person I was sitting next to on the flight who was all elbows (I think the snoring might have got them back for that) and the person who stood on the back of my action sandal thus causing it to rip and me to fall on the plane expressway and take a chunk out of my foot. So now I am wandering the airport in bare feet with one broken shoe and one shoe too painful to wear harvesting a number of very strange looks (well more than usual) and rightly so. There also appears to be no purveyors of appropriate shoeage currently open.

Miami and Cuba

Any Cuban that can set foot on US soil can claim citizenship, get money and a work permit. The same cannot be said of the other Hispanic groups such as Haitians and other South American based peoples. This means that there is resentment of the Cuban population who also tend to be better educated and being descended from an educated elite that left Cuba when Castro came to power tends to put them in position to take control. Most of the major political offices are now Cuban or descended from Cubans. This has also led to many middle class white and black people to leave meaning that Miami is one of the poorest cities in the US with a large gang culture. The other area that amuses me is the in the same way that everyone in Boston can traces their roots to an Irish background (never English - we are not the baddies in films for no reason) so everything tries to link to Cuba. So the Hawaiian shirt seller is Havana Shirts, cigars (mass produced in the US) try to claim Cuban heritage despite it being illegal due to trade embargoes and restaurants include the work Cuba in the title despite serving a typical US menu. This exaggerated link my serve to increase profits for the Cubans but may also polarise and isolate other sectors of the community further.

Key West

A decidedly ordinary little town (once the wealthiest per capita in the whole of the US) that has some nice houses in it courtesy of the wreckers and spongers and Ernest hemmingway once lived here before leaving - probably the most sensible thing he did. I had expected a lovely drive down through the keys and while some of the views are spectaclar far too often the humdrum mix of cheap hotels, cheaper restuarants and untidy touristy shops invade what could be an even more attractive area. The Seven Mile Bridge is a wonder to behold but I think the history behind the now defunct railway that was originally built to get to the area is more interested but sadly ignored by the area. Generally I try to avoid too much sight-seeing in 100 degree heat so being on a trip where we had from 12-4 maybe have put me in a bad mood and predujiced me against the whole experience. Certainly the Southern most point in Continental USA is a con as there is a piece of land about 10 metres away which is further South but in a US military base and thus unsuitablas a tourist attraction.


The Everglades is a slow moving river that runs through South Florida. It has a large amount of mud deposited as the water does not have the energy to transport it. In this mud grows a grass called sawgrass or glade and as it stretches for ever you get Everglades - sat in the middle of a shallow lake area overlooking a wide expanse of tall grass on a boat that has a very shallow draught it suddenly dawned that I was in Norfolk overlooking the Broads and the sudden realisation of the similarity between the two landscapes was striking. Admittedly there are few alligators in Norfolk but we have got bittern and the odd marsh harrier instead. It is fair to say the Everglades trip did not live up to expectations - I guess I was hoping for a more in depth look at how the environment in the area was affected by the activities of people rather than the best way to wrestle an alligator but hey it might come in useful what with global warming and all.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Just about the perfect day at the beach

7am - to the beach (massive waves) thank you tropical storm Ana
10am - back to the hotel spot of breakfast and a coffee
11am - reading in the shade of a palm tree watching the world and the ocean
12pm - spot of lunch
1pm - chill in and around the pool in the shade with a book and a puzzle (obviously not in the pool with the book)
4pm - back to the beach - even bigger waves, just the best swimming conditions this side of being safe. Red flag conditions with the threat of stingray!
7pm - off for some dinner and a couple of beers

Question - why when the city of Miami advocate avoiding the beach in the heat of the day do the lifeguards only work 10 till 5?

Off to Key West on a day trip tomorrow. Then on Tuesday just time for a trip to the beach Tues morning before the long trip home.
I feel a sense of dislocation with Miami that I have not felt with other places on the trip so far. In the guide book it describes this area as ME-ami and I would whole-heartedly agree with the statement. The are is populated by the "beautiful people" and while this is not meant wholly in terms of looks it is the aspiration that the people seem to have from matching your rat (well small dogs) clothing to your handbag and shoes or ensuring that you wear as little as possible at all time it is all pervasive and especially yesterday in t-shirt and shorts (no luggage) it seemed I have committed the cardinal sin of not trying. There is also a seedier side to this as well. Ocean Drive has the classier bars and restaurants that use flesh to entice you in. Having a glamorous hostess should not be the major criteria for choosing a restaurant and I had to laugh at the bloke who was so busy looking at the arse of a hostess that he fell over the steps. However, on Washington Street flesh is also used but it seems to be a lot seedier with strip joints etc. I guess as someone who does try and drawn patterns in my stubble/beard means I feel (real or imagined) that I don't really fit in here. Maybe being the only person on the beach in the rain might also explain it.

Why did everyone else get out the pool when it started raining?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Baggage saga deepens

Well it appears that TSA (Transportation Security Administration) had not looked in enough bags to meet their quotas and decide to rummage around in my dirty washing and confiscate my shaving foam! However it took more than 2 hours to do this and thus the bag was not loaded on the plane. They did not bother to inform the airline or me that they had been so tardy and thus both myself and the airline did not know what happened. The bag was then loaded on to the next flight out of Savannah (Dallas), then the next flight in the vague direction of Miami (The Bahamas) and then eventually to Miami where it then took 5.5 hours to get from the plane - 5 miles to the hotel arriving with me at 1.30am.

Today I am going to the Everglades and on an airboat in a "Gentle Ben" style - however it is currently lashing it down - again.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Friday Picture of the Day

The hotel is in the Art Deco section of Miami South Beach and avoids the high rise hotels and condos found along the rest of the sea front. The sea front especially is spectacular and although it is less glamorous away from the front the whole area is low rise and lovely. The 1930's styling of the area has been well resorted and yellow striped hotel is just one example of the designs around.

Lost luggage

The luggage is missing. Rover and contents are having an adventure all on their own but it leaves me with a dilemma.

How much stuff do I go and buy - underwear, new clothes, suncream, toiletries, Ipod recharger, unread books? Where should I stop. I am not sure that I covered insurance wise as they only pay for delayed luggage on the outward journey which technically I am not on - but then I am not on the return journey either but then they will cough up if it is lost entirely.

If I buy stuff do I buy a case to put it in because if the original one turns up then I can't take them both on board as you are allowed one case and it is a different airline to the one that lost the case - unless I go and explain and they are being nice.

It is annoying and irritating but no doubt will be sorted or not. I have been on I supposed it was bound to happen sooner or later

Thursday Pictures of the day

The key to the loveliness of Savannah is the layout, originally 24 now 21 squares surrounded and inter linked with this they are sculpted and have lovely trees mainly oak covered in moss and ferns making them all seem a lot older. The let down is that the preservation started too late so there are a mish mash of old, modern and post modern not all attractive or in keeping. While Charleston has a tight historic district Savannah has a wide historic swathe able to surprise and disappoint in equal measure.
A lot of the houses needed expanded but are clapboard/ clapperboard and with limited foundations were too unstable to add an extra storey on top so jacked up the building and added it in underneath. The two pictures show a house with extra understorey next to a used car sales highlighting the mish mash and a tree covered in the moss.

Early flight to Miami tomorrow for the last but one of the most exciting stop with trips into the Everglades and the Florida Keys.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

As I am getting towards the end of the trip I am running out of time to get things done that I want to so today was very busy - with a walking tour, a boat trip and a minor league baseball game squashed in. I have less time in Savannah but the train system has helped because there is only one train in the morning at 5am!!! arriving at 7am which on the brightside means I have the whole day in Savannah to explore. I then have another early start on Friday as I need to get an 8am flight to Miami.

I am really pushing the hotel services that they provide. I am not sure that 4.30am was what they had in mind when they put forward the offer of a free shuttle bus for guests (big tip) and when they offer to look after luggage I am not sure that they mean 7am before actually checking in.

Pictures of the Day: Wednesday

Will consist of two pictures.

The peninsula of Charleston between the Cooper and Ashley Rivers is generally very pretty and has a number of spectacular buildings but this is amplified in the historic section where

-due to a lack of cash after the Civil War (to build new buildings)

-the foresight of some visionaries to save the areas

-and the local government who refuse to change city ordinances to allow substandard or tall buildings have allowed a very attractive gentrified area to arise with some original buildings now costing some where upwards of $1 million for a basic family house.

The feature that makes them really stand out is the privacy door. To help make the houses cooler they have a veranda down one side as this allows the breeze to pass through the house more easily but to protect the privacy of the owners of the house it has a door on the front despite the fact that behind it you are still outdoors. Here is a good example.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Tuesday Picture of the Day

Comes from Wilson, North Carolina and kind sums up a day that involved way too much waiting around for my liking. Not sure that you are allowed to sell these let alone advertise that you have them.

The train leaving Durham was late, the train connection in Wilson was two hours late and it was not until 7pm we started to make back some of that time as the weather was too hot and therefore the trains are on a go slow in the heat of the day. I once heard an irate passenger complain that there was no point taking Amtrak if you wanted to arrive near the correct time and that the timetable was wishful thinking of the highest degree. Despite this there are several reasons I like travelling this way rather than flying

1. You get to see places that otherwise I would go nowhere near. I suspect the train only stops there as it happens to be in the way. Florence is less spectacular than the Italian version and Dillon has no buildings over two stories

2. The strong family links which had people waiting hours to meet loved ones who eventually arrive or depart.

3. The unintentional comedy of watching a very noisy group miss the 5 minute warning of a station approaching and then take so long to get themselves and the huge pile of luggage off that the train was moving again and they had to wait to the next station. Oh and as there is one train a day I have no idea what they are going to do in Fayetteville but it looked large enough to have a hotel and maybe car rental.

4. The ingrained nature of tobacco in North Carolina that depsite running late the whole train had to wait while the crew had a cigarette

5. The guard collecting take out from a station, presumably he rung them up and ordered on the way through

6. Get to see the landscape both urban and rural.

7. Chatting to people along the way.

Should get some good photos tomorrow. Being picked up and driven to the start of a walking tour in the morning which conveys a certain sense of irony.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


The drive was uneventful and straightforward although Penny the satnav had problems when we appeared to be driving through nothing and then on some unknown road. Some of the signs that I see also amuse me

It is illegal to feed the bears (tough at 65 mph as well)
Beware of the bears -they cause large dents
No four way flashing
No Entry - followed by - You are driving the wrong way.
Turn left - ignore your satnav.


Picture of the Day: Monday

Close to the hotel is a university and it is very different to the urban jungle that is the University of Sheffield or the suburb that is Canterbury Christ Church University College and far more beautiful than UEA. It manages to mix the vegetation with the buildings so they seem to hide in amongst the trees. They also have some lovely different types of design. This is the University Chapel.

Weather is a similar level of heat to the coast but the humidity is way up and the four mile walk that I did was maybe a fraction ill-advised without water but will act as practice as I have a walking tour of Charleston on Wednesday. Most of tomorrow is on the train for the second time this holiday.

Monday, 10 August 2009


Currently of the coast of Africa is a weak tropical storm which as it travels across the equator will build power and end up as a strong tropical storm or hurricane. I am not sure how long this takes but as I will be in Miami next weekend this is one area which has had its fair share. In the guide book it tells me that if they give a hurricane warning not evacuate but does not suggest how or to where!! I also found out that particularly destructive hurricane "names" are retired and not used again so there will not be another Hurricane Katrina. These are the names for the hurricanes in the Atlantic this year.


Picture of the Day: Sunday

In the same way that UK beach going is either non-existent or an old couple sitting on the beach despite the gale lashing them, it is interesting and instructive to see the American family go on holiday. It starts with the transport, 2 in every 3 vehicles is either a large 4x4 or pick up truck and in the same way that work expands to fill time, luggage expands to fill the size of the vehicle that is transporting it.

It starts with the cooler containing ice cold soda or beer, sun shelters with an umbrella as a minimum and a 4 post sun shade at maximum, there is then seating for the family, games for the kids to play (bolo seems to be in vogue currently), books, musical equipment, fishing rods, body boards and everything that you could possibly want. In fact the only thing that they did not have was that game with wooden bats they play on the Med coast (not cricket). I got some odd looks (well more odd than normal) with just my towel, a book and a bottle of water. The picture was taken at 8am and some keen if under equipped people have just arrived. It is also good to see some parent ensuring their kids were protected from the sun but like a lot of UK parents there were some angry looking skin around, lets hope it does not lead to anything.

Driving again tomorrow. Lets hope Penny is as good second time round.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Curse my pale British skin

It is now 10.30 and I have had to retreat to the shade of the pool and the hotel room as I just can't stay in the sun. The sun's power makes me feel like I am frying even with factor 50 suncream and that includes wearing a t-shirt. Good thing I got to the beach just after 7 for wave bobbing.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The beach

is probably one of the best that I have ever been to. The sand is warm and lovely, the view in both directions is great, there are people forming a line of umbrellas and wind breakers but not too busy as to feel overcrowded. The dunes screen most of the buildings do it does not feel built up by the greatest thing is the waves. They are huge. You can be standing in knee to waist deep water and every so often a wave big enough to sweep you of your feet comes along but there is very little undercurrent pulling you out to sea. It is my ideal wave scenario Spent nearly four hours on the beach but the temperature has risen and the UV index is 100 so I have taken to the shade and will siesta for a bit.

US Health Care

Obama has devised a plan to change the US healthcare and is trying to get it through both parts of the Congress. Currently the US spends a greater proportion of its GDP on healthcare (19%) and is only 50th in life expectancy. It also requires most people have health insurance either personally or through work so it is expensive and a yet a high proportion of people aren't covered. On top of this it encourages doctors to wait till people to become more ill so they can charge more and also people to wait until they are really sick. Even if you are insured there is still an excess to pay.

The system is clearly in need of improvement but the Republicans appear not to seek the best solution but to maintain the status quo. Some of the strategies have included shouting and screaming at "town hall" meetings where legislators meet their voters, slogans comparing Obama to Hitler and an increase in healthcare to Nazism and spreading of disinformation such as forced euthanasia by the state is part of the plan. It comes as a surprise that a political part in a developed country could act in such a way as to try to subvert the process as opposed to trying to win the argument or express their ideology.

I only hope that comparing Democrats do not suffer violence from comparing them to Nazis.
PS Socialism works well in other places. The US should try it some time.

Kill Devil Hills

The Outer Banks are a 14 mile stretch of sand dunes (beautiful psammosere) that is populated by a series of houses and hotels. It is nice that there is no buildings more than about 4 storeys so it does not feel built up. The lack of a large airport also means that the majority of people arrive by car from nearby cities giving it an unusual feeling. It seems to be the place that Americans go on holiday rather than an international destination.

The buildings here are also fantastical, most have no ground floor (pillars and garages mainly), a testament to the storms and hurricanes that come through this area at times, They also have sundecks or balconies, are made of wood and are very large. I am about 8 miles along the beach meaning that I am about 7 miles from the major centres so it is going to be me the pool, the beach and relaxation for the weekend.

The drive down was ok, the sat nav (Penny) was very useful but entering a highway on the right lane and having to get across 4 lanes of traffic to an exit on the left lane in about a quarter mile was a tad optimistic but she got me back on track. I have rented a Toyota Camry which handles okay and don't think I annoyed too many other people. Am aiming not to drive again till I return to the city on Monday as I don't like it. I found it difficult to go so slowly (55mph) on the open stretches and make decisions quickly and accurately at junctions.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The worst day so far

and it started so well. The capitol (home to the Virginia two government chambers and the home of the Confederate Government) has had a number of historic events occur within it and there are very knowledge guides. The Civil War Museum located in the Tredegar Iron Foundry that produced the vast number of cannons and guns for the South It was very interesting and in particular the way that the Civil War affected the USA since the 1860's. It was after this it got a bit depressing.

1. The heavy rain (yes again) was not good

2. The "picturesque" Canal Walk went passed an electricity substation, an empty warehouse and a freeway before just stopping.The map showed it continued but in reality it did not.

3. The entertainment/touristy part of the city was generally closed. Apparently Richmond is a weekend tourist town.

4. Tomorrow I am driving and as this is the biggest chance of me hurting myself, someone else or incurring the wrath of the law. I will be fine when I get on the highway but have concerns about getting out of town.

On the brightside it is the end of pounding the pavement and off to the seaside for the weekend.

Picture of the Day

Picture of the Day: Wednesday

Does not exist.

Welcome to the South. Richmond. Capital of the Confederacy. Home to Jefferson Davis. Home to the manufacturing might to keep the South going against the might of the North with cities like New York and Boston. Whose capture helped decide the US Civil War. In historic location like this where better than to stay than a historic location. A hotel dating from the 1800's. Well click here to read more.

While the location of the hotel may at one time have been near the centre of activities it is now located in a slightly run down area of downtown where taking pictures might not be the wisest act. Best to look confident in what you are doing and going and do it. In New York at 1am it was so busy with so many other people you felt safe at least on the main streets but here the businesses were not tourist orientated (nail shops, cheque cashing, pawn shops, lots of empty buildings) and had shut leaving the area feeling empty and more sinister, although this impression is probably my imagination than reality but best not to take risks.

Looking forward to some Civil War based tourism activities tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Usually at sports events I can't stand mascots which piss around and annoy people but the Giant Presidents from Washington and the race that they have were actually amusing. Can you work out who they are supposed to be?

Tuesday's picture of the day2

Last time I came to Washington a mixture of a security and very long queues made it impossible to do two things -firstly go up the Washington Memorial and secondly tour Congress and see the Chamber that the House of Representatives and Senate meet in. Well I managed the second and the improvement in crowd management and the quality of the exhibition was very good (give or take a sense of hyperbole - unmatched, best in the world... which could definitely be argued). The building itself is spectacular and also there was access to the Library of Congress which is likewise had some great exhibitions and a beautiful building. If you do visit be warned - if you want to see the Senate in action they take long lunches.

Internet connection slow/ awful - picture of the day will return hopefully in Richmond Virginia tomorrow

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Monday picture of the Day

Was a tough choice. Travelled down from Baltimore to Washington. The Mount Vernon area of Baltimore has been gentrified very nicely and looked very good. Train to Washington DC and then had to sit till about 3 before the new room was ready. Then strolled up to Dupont Circle which is supposed to be an area for young professional. There was a nice park with a fountain in the middle of the large roundabout. After having sat and read for a bit a protest started to form and I have to say possibly the worst organised and located protest I have seen. If you have a microphone don't stand next to the fountain surrounded by traffic as no-one can hear a word you say. It also was unclear what was being protested for a while added to a large amount of milling around.

A first I thought it was equal rights for LGB, then Palestine-Israel questions and turns out they want stronger penalties for people who commit hate crimes after a shooting occurred in a centre for Jewish gay men. As I think that murder is murder and the it doesn't matter who the victim so I took this photo of the milling that was occurring.

Monday, 3 August 2009

North East American fashion

This year the trend seems to be halter neck dresses to the ground with a small tattoo on the shoulder and strappy sandals slightly higher than is really appropriate for the situation. For the men shorts and tee-shirts (so no change there). Now is the time to get ahead!!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Things I might never understand about the US

Things that strike me as odd when traveling in the US

  • Turning on red traffic lights - 1 day someone won't stop

  • Jogging (good for you) next to 4 lanes of traffic (not good for you)

  • Starbucks is my office - businessmen with laptops and mobiles holding their meetings in coffee shops.

  • The number of people who live in apartments (think Friends style)

  • Bringing main course before I have finished the starter or cheque before I finish the meal

  • Relaxing in a chair at the front of your house next to four lanes of traffic.

  • Plug sockets in the base of lamps - if i want to charge something I have to have the light on which is tough during the night

  • Adverts for serious medical conditions including Viagra on TV. Have you got erectile dysfunction?
  • Beer. Beautifully produced (not Bud or that stuff) and then chilled to reduce all flavour. What they do to Newcastle Broen Ale is enough to make Geordies weep.

Sunday picture of the day

Baltimore has a poor reputation from The Wire but you can sense that they are trying to change that and part of that is the sculpture (part of a series) bringing art to the region. One exam question was "There is no point improving a city until you have changed the people. Discuss" so it will be up to the residents to connect with music, art and culture to improve there city. Before you worry as with most US cities some of the suburbs are the most dangerous and tourists are generally left alone.

Saturday Picture of the Day

This is a quote by Jackie Robinson or Jackie who as most of you are saying. He was the first black player to play baseball at the top level. He was not the best at that time (although he was good) but he was one of the most tolerant because even after the ban was dropped his live was not sweetness and life but he took the abuse and did not react. It made me think about who might have been the first black player to play football or rugby. I know that Paul Ince was the first black player to captain England football team.

This is the question. Is not knowing better or worse. It is great that Jackie Robinson is remember but wouldn't it be better if society was at a place where these things weren't really noticed or taking into account. After all if black players weren't banned and playing in a segregated league in the first place then there would be no need for a Jackie Robinson figure.

Maybe it is just that there is a much larger ethnic population in the US (79% white) than in the UK (93% white).

The quote says
"A life is not important except in it's impact on others lives" and there is a sense of irony that this is located in new York (Citifiled Rotunda) where people pay very little attention to those around them, the only city where people standing taking photos in the centre of 4 lanes of traffic get angry with the cars.

It took a while but I worked out how it happens
1. You wait for people to finishing walking past except it never happens
2. You then push in front as you have lost patience
3. You then realise that by being selfish things get done quicker
4. When you see a rule/ law you then ignore it as you are selfish
5. Eventually you stop caring about the people around you

9 mobiles ringing in a three hour show proves me right.

National Comedy Theatre

This group of comedians are absolutely brilliant and I felt so sorry for them as they only had an audience of about 30. They take a selection of ideas and weave a wonderful web of comedy or not. Sometimes the attempts to manufacture comedy is as funny as what they say. With improv you also have a bit more leeway with the comedians. If a stand up works on his act and then is rubbish he has nowhere to go but a improv troupe are working on the spot so if it falls flat you are a bit more sympathetic.