Blog n: a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and brief philosophical musings about social issues that generally represent the personality of the author. Blogs are defined by their format: a series of entries posted in reverse-chronological order.
So there. Now feed the starving little fighting fish above by clicking in his space...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Monday, 19 December 2011

R.I.P Christopher Hitchens

In the world of the polemics, of which I dipped my toes into, I found Hitchens the most insightful and eloquent of all. He was unafraid and brewed a storm in his intellectual honest appraisal of the establishment and destablishment. His most devastating insults were "toad" and "horrible little man". If it weren't for his volunteering to be water-boarded just to prove a point, I'd call him an arm chair warrior, but he wasn't and Andrew Sullivan, Ian Mcewan, et al can speak for me in the way of his eulogy. Fundamentally I massively disagree with him, for instance he wrote a best selling book called "God is Not Great" (an attack on religion) and gave a lecture of "why women aren't funny". You see the dissonance. Christopher Hitchens will be sorely missed. I just read this essay of his a few weeks ago

Friday, 2 December 2011

Video Games

Not my lyrics but...

Swingin in the back yard
Pull up in your fast car
Whistlin my name

Open up a beer and
Say get over here
And play a video game

I'm in his favorite sun dress
Watchin me get undressed
Take my body down town

I say 'You da bestest'
Lean in for a big kiss
Put his favorite perfume on
Go play a video game

It's you, it's you, it's all for you
Everything I do
Tell you all the time
Heaven is a place on earth with you
Tell me all the things you wanna do
I heard that you like the bad girls
Honey, is that true?
It's better than I ever even knew
They say that the world was built for two
Only worth living
If somebody is loving you
Baby now you do

Singing in the old bar
Swinging with the old stars
Living for the fame
Kissing in the blue dark
Playing pool and wild darts
Video games

He holds me in his big arms
He's drunk and I am seein' stars
This is all I think of
[ From: ]
Watchin all our friends fall
Leanin out of old cars
This is my idea of fun
Playing video games

It's you, it's you, it's all for you
Everything I do
Tell you all the time
Heaven is a place on earth with you
Tell me all the things you wanna do
I heard that you like the bad girls
Honey, is that true?
It's better than I ever even knew
They say that the world was built for two
Only worth living
If somebody is loving you
Baby now you do

(Now you do)

It's you, it's you, it's all for you
Everything I do
Tell you all the time
Heaven is a place on earth wit' you
Tell me all the things you wanna do do
I heard that you like the bad girls
Honey, is that true?
It's better than I ever even knew
They say that the world was built for two
Only worth living
If somebody is loving you
Maybe now you do

Maybe now you do

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Love and other inconveniences.

The frivolous practice of being 'in love' pales in comparison to the art of knowing how to love. Elizabeth Barret Browning worked it all out in her sublime poem:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Handel - Sarabande

Dad, there's a sequel...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Impediments and Other Scandals

Beethoven wasn't totally deaf, he had tinnitus.

Last year after a Halloween partyinggggggrrr--rring---the usual shrill that one experiences the morning after has not ceased ringing in my poor ears. Why I have permanent ear damage will always remain a mystery to me for I was the one wearing professional earplugs the entire night.

So eight months along I have tinnitus, and so what now?  I have to listen to the radio, or a hair-dryer, or a lawn mower. Silence is over for me.  R.I.P silence.  Instead, I hear a high pitched electrical humming in between my ears/in my head.  As uncomfortable and distracting as this is, this shrill has to be my friend.  Otherwise I'll go insane and end up in a darker place than Saint Anne's Hospital.

So to conquer tinnitus I have to invite this nemesis into my life, like an affirmation of Self; without it I'm either dead or asleep... or I'm listening to BBC Radio 4...

I bolted up in bed last night after Classic FM guy introduced his favourite film classics.  Thinking it was a modern day John Williams with his Dances with Wolves soundtrack etc. I listened to this 'new' composer and felt the tingles chasing themselves up and down my spine. I've been taught how to hear classical music and I listened intently.  Blown away, I thought out loud; "There is a genius living among us" and I resolved to find out who this new and up and coming talent was... my heart palpitating and all my limbs in rhythm... the Classic FM guy paused after the piece, as if he and I had both been impregnated by some unexplainable force neither of us could explain,  he announced...  "In the movie "The King's Speech" they used Beethoven so well."

Ha! I can't believe I missed Ludvig's 7th.  I've been too wrapped up in the 9th.

I've heard all of Beethoven's before, even the sub-brilliant, but this movie's soundtrack has replaced all meaning to me.  The Classic FM guy was correct.  They used Beethoven perfectly to set the cadence, regalia, and solemnity that this speech of King George's that was so fundamental and crucial that ignited a patriotism that only the British can be proud of.

I saw a real D Day landing craft cruising into Poole Harbour last week.  I looked at my father as he watched it pass by and he did so in awe, interest, and reverence.  There's so much about War II  I don't know about.   But for now, stop and hear this...      

God Save The Queen!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Facebook is the novel we are all writing

When MTV spanked popular culture with it's Real World series in 1992 I realized that reality TV (RTV) was not just a fad, like fondue or pleather, but a new genre that was here to stay.  Riding on it's coat-tails followed a multi-million dollar pursuit to interview and document the lives of the massively mediocre and dull.  While cat-walks spun orange into the new pink, RTV tailored the boring into the latest thrill.

Basically, the RTV phenomenon divides society into two groups; those who watch it religiously, and those who watch it in secret.  I don't have a television so I can't sling too much mud because I subscribe to the great and spacious building site of Facebook.  

Personally, speed-limits and taxes have felt more comfortable than FB at times.  But you can't fault the genius of it.  Conceived in a womb of the world's greatest of universities and fertilized by the deepest of pockets, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg wrote the algorithm (in answer to the myspace problem) and provided a forum for students to express themselves succinctly, outside of the classroom, to connect, collect, and organize the individual expressions of college life; from campus to campus, throughout academia, and beyond.  A buzz so contagious that by 1994, in less than a year, a new social network secured it's face within the books of history.

It's fairly straightforward to deactivate Facebook.  So feeling bold I took the plunge and suspended my account for a while.  My exit was so badly received that a visit to each of my friend's houses in the middle of the night and throwing rocks at their windows and spray painting farewell's all over their cars seemed a more civilized departure than the havoc I wreaked from a simple click of a button.  So to keep the peace I returned to Facebook and also to a wall splattered with the annoyances and cries from a posse abandoned.

Social networks are fueled by billions of tweets and narcissistic updates driven only by the need for people to broadcast their own uniqueness.  Pull the plug on that and the chaos which started in Egypt is only the beginning.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

"An early bird may get the worm... but the second mouse gets the cheese".

A quote I read today floored me and here's why;  the two sides are unequally matched.  How can an early bird be compared to a lazy mouse, and worms with cheese? Many discussions and arguments have arisen where the combatants try to strengthen their point by crooked thinking. It might win a couple battles but they're usually short lived.  In London slang it's called 'comparing apples to oranges'.  The argument is inherently flawed.  So let's not compare, because when we do we'll find ourselves in hot water.

Monday, 17 January 2011

You may delay, but time will not. ~Benjamin Franklin

To my inbox each day Merriam-Webster sends a daily word and last week the word 'procrastinate' appeared but I waited until today to open the email and (for the sake of a good story and poetic license) the definition came with a thumbnail pic of my face.  It was unpleasant, not my face that is, but the fact that I am indeed the definition of late.  My Dad has described me and my incessant tardiness as, "always late, but worth the wait".  Thanks Dad, thanks for turning cold porridge into strawberry shortcake.  I remember a job I had where my boss and patrons would place bets on the time I arrived to work.  Totally flustered, I'd burst through the door with all the "sorry's" under the sun, while a portion of them erupted and money changed hands.  I showed up early one time and there was such an uproar that they decided amongst themselves that I was to be disqualified because no one imagined that I'd ever be early for work.  Silly men, drinking beer, like puppies playing ball.  Those were the days working at The Bee and I've been meaning to talk about them for a while but I've put it off until now.

Anyway, where was I? Turning trivialities into the meaningful?  It's 2011 and according to the Mayan calender I've got one year to shape up or ship out.  According to the Mayans, we have less than one year to make something up, I mean, make something out of ourselves for the big "show and tell" performance come 2012.  I'm formulating a case convincing enough to buy me more time and at best another chance.  It's not that I'm scared of dying, I'm just frightened by the projects I've started and may never finish.  Hmm, eleven and a half months to go.  Now that's pressure, but if it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done.

Friday, 3 December 2010


England's weather is never terrific enough to make the headlines.  It's irritatingly dull and can't even secure the 50% annual rainfall mark (beaten narrowly by Oregan USA) and Britain coming in at a dismal 49%.  Summer months can barely warm the freckle off a red-head and a flurry of snow brings the nation to a stand still.  300 years ago without sensible shoes or gloves on a string Vivaldi composed this...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Magna Cum Laude

Trevor has bought new challenges to me.  I managed to teach him the meaning of "heel."  Mr Lacey, his owner, only knew walking Trev meant a pull through the streets while by-standers watching wondered who was leading who.  Trevor has now learned to walk by my side with a combination of bribes and irritating pulls of the leash.  He's happier, more contained.  Tonight I dressed him in a padded jacket (along with more doggy biscuits and praise) because the weather has turned bitterly cold.  It's day three and all is well. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Pedigree Chums

I started writing this blog to poke fun at people who take their pets too seriously.  Before Rojo came onto the scene (and I've never mentioned this before until now) I owned a Betta fish and named him Matthew, which bought great amusement to me.  Poor Matthew never made the blog but provided me with ample comic relief.  Needless to say he kicked the bucket along with all the rest of my Siamese Fighting fish.  They were great, truly great and I owe a lot to them.  But today the joke's on me because now I'm seriously involved with a new companion and friend.

Meet Trevor...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Taken from the latest Great Lake of Salt

Messages In The Sunset

Like sparks from a hot saw blade
Rotating slow-motion below the horizon
Supernatural light in distorted refraction gradually bends
Along the thin line of twilight 
Longitude and latitude
Tilting the axis of our souls in silent awe

God's translucent nocturnal art
Of divine fireworks bathes us
In His intense spectrum of wavelengths
Creating an afterglow of defused smiles
Then overcasts these sublime reflections
Catching fire in the watery eyes of humility

Stretching forth His kodachrome hand
Suspending His symphony of colors within a stillness
Displaying gentle flashes of fearful and trembling hues
Taking us home momentarily
To regenerate us in preparation
For His next gift of a new brilliant sunrise


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A Shot-Gun Wedding

A revisit to the poet W.H.Auden I discovered that we have a few things in common;  he and I were both born in England,  grew up in Birmingham, and spent some years in America.  The central themes of his poetry are similar to that of my blog, i.e. subjects of love, God, morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature (my fish dying and so on).  Auden's friends from his Oxford years described him as being funny, extravagant, sympathetic, generous, and, partly by his own choice, lonely.    

This reading from the late great poet Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) is my latest favourite of England's finest...

Monday, 25 October 2010

T.S Eliot reading 'The Love Song of Sir Alfred Prufrock'

A professor I had in grammar school some fifteen years ago kicked my class into studying this poem and I've never forgotten it's opening line;

"Let us go then, you and I,
While the evening is spread out against the sky..."

How romantic, but there's more...

I found an original recording of Mr Eliot reading his magnum opus on YouTube.  (Pay attention to the end part where he describes the waves).  It's good stuff!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Synergy: A Collaboration. A Piece of our minds.

Dave Christensen sent me the following prose.  After ingestion and many hours I folded it into a poem.   

Friends and Computers:

For some really stupid reasons we file some away forever; yet a few eventually make it out of the bin and recycle back. A few might be in a police file, and there are some who probably should be in the X files. There are those who can play our hearts like a keyboard and whisper all types of digitized sweet nothings to brighten our screens. Other times we search for the right passwords to bring back those we have defaulted, trying everything we can to open them back up to us again. Those that we inadvertently cut might later feel like pasting us....and also think about putting a boot-up our @*#! Real special ones know just how to gently defrag us. On occasion we turn ourselves into fine-tuned engines and search for just the right one to surf through the rest of our life together with. Yet so many times we somehow never let get downloaded the right programs to upgrade us. Then there is God, Who knows us all without ever having to use google. Who can processes trillions of requests - then answer them all in the twinkling of an eye, sending his Spirit to virus scan our hearts in order to restore our hard driven souls - reinstalling purpose as He Casts His Net. He then leaves it entirely up to us if we want to be deleted out of his Facebook of life or not... but would rather have us all His best friends forever.



And this is what came out the other end...

An Ode; To the Few 

Seasons of men are filed
and reviled
reasons for that which they lack;
'Tis treason to assume
that a few in their gloom
can't recycle themselves from their bins and back.

A few
might be logged in police piles,
and some who belong in the X files.
There are those who can play our hearts like a keyboard,
typing with whispers in digitized dreams 
to sweeten our screens
Ice scream!

A few
are searching for passwords
with swords to bring the defaulted
and exalted.
Trying in pain
to reach and to teach
opening wounds up again,
in vein.

A few
by mistake
we've cut up like cake.
And in place of a hand
(just for good measure and with way too much pleasure) 
we've offered a swift boot to the head.

A few
of the silent know how to coerce
and gently defrag us.
No cuss.
No fuss.

A few
are brighter than most!
Outstanding alone and tall as a post!
Winking and shining, tugging her boats from out of the bleak...
upon shores of rocks
designed for the weak.

A house of light....

Is He.
Knowing us inside and out.
Without google, or frugle, or poodles with noodles, processing trillions and squillions of rants 
twinkling His eye from out of the skies
scanning our hearts
and restoring the hard
driven souls from our wants 
and desires.
Installing the wires
again and again
in the rain.

Not a few
but for all!
His net stretching wide to catch the Fall;
The deleted, deflated, fragmented, placated, the Faces with and without.
Booking the lives of our time.

So from out of the bin
all's forgiven
He's risen!

Lending us time
to climb
back again
with renewal
of a greater precision.


Monday, 11 October 2010

A Job for Steve

iHad to take my broken laptop into the Mac store the other day, and by appointment only iBattled my way through an orchard of iScrumpers playing with the latest of iThings and handed my bruised fruit to an iGeek sporting a pair of Woody Allen spectacles. He tested my computer for fatalities and he broke the solemn news that iNdeed my hard drive was broken and iHad lost everything.  Crying on the iNside, realizing how much iHad lost, iAsked him to explain what a hard drive is and how it works.  iThought it was all done by magic. He told me that iCan send iT to a data retrieving lab where people dressed in a bee-keeper type astronaut outfit working in a dust free lab fixing it by hand and that my broken drive can be retrieved.  

Saturday, 4 September 2010

And now for some NEWS

Fidel Castro, Cuba's former president, gave a rare interview to a Mexican newspaper.  He said the intestinal illness he has suffered in recent years had left him "at death's door", and expressed regret for having officially persecuted gays in the 1960s and 1970s.

Pakistanis and cricket-lovers were mortified after a newspaper sting appeared to show members of the Pakistani test side agreeing, through an agent, to rig parts of a game against England in exchange for £150,000 ($230,000).  Pakistan's prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, spoke for many when he said accusations against the team "have caused great embarrassment for the entire nation."

Jennifer Aniston arrived in Africa earlier this week to sign the papers to adopt a 33 year old man named Nagassi.  An adoption agency in the U.S helped Jen secure Nagassi from an east African orphanage and will soon be the Hollywood actor's new boyfriend.  For years Ms. Aniston has tried unsuccessfully to get a man the natural way but now finally has someone to share her life with.  Mr Nagassi was reported to being a little shy when they first met but she apparently took him in her arms and said, "you're mine now, you'll be with me forever, and you're not going anywhere." Best of luck to the happy couple.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Always Late, But Worth the Wait

A bumper sticker I read once said, "Jesus is Coming, Look Busy".  I was stuck in traffic at the time and after reading that I had the urge to grab a cloth or sort through my paper work, neither of which were there. Talk about leaving redemption to the last minute.    

I've had the line "slouching towards Bethlehem" running around my mind and I found it's origin at the end of a Yeats poem I studied in grammar school.  The def. of gyre is a circular or spiral form; a vortex.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight; somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

I'm gonna wash that Air right outta my Show

Two seagulls flying along the motorway were passed by a roaring jet plane.  The one gull turns to the other and says, "Caw, I wish I could fly like that".  And the other replies, "You would if you had two bottoms on fire!"

The first day of Britain's Air Show commenced five days ago, filling the skies with ear-drumming resonance as spit-fires, red arrows, and everything else in between went pounding over-head.  I don't know much about WWII and my knowledge of planes is even thinner.  I remember being at home with my father that day and him recognizing the rumble of a Lancaster droning in the distance. Without a word he left his desk and I followed him to the window where we caught a glimpse of an historical bird pummeling by, like a steamroller on wings.

But unlike last year this show caught the wrath of Britain's most dismal and soul-destroying weather which spat upon it's fire-works, tourists, and throngs of people turned out to anticipate the thundering arrival of the Vulcan and Euro Bomber divas, hoping to amends the gloomy skies.  The weather never came, the event nose-dived, and the clouds were wrung out to dry hanging like a rag over the exodus of disillusioned families on holiday making their way back home.   Somewhere above the trail of traffic and high above the clouds a mechanical flock with their bottoms on fire flew home.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Breaking up with Capitalism

At twenty-two, sophomoric, and frightened by the bog of mediocrity I leapt like a frog out of boiling water and nose-dived straight into Ayn Rand's horribly written but persuasive novel, Atlas Shrugged. After a 1300 page slog of brain-washing repetitions of far right-wing ideology I resolved to handbag the world like Margaret Thatcher did in 1979 and privatize everything;  the police force, the fire department, coast guard, and whatever else got in the way of this great machine.  I'd fallen in love with capitalism.  That was ten years ago.  But get this...

I live in Bournemouth on the south coast of England.  I call it the Florida of Britain because similar to the sunny state, it has a temperate climate, a great beach, and lots of old people.  I live in the neighbouring village of Westbourne which is bound together by Victorian shops and two story flats built in the late 1800's by Henry Joy's and I happen to live in the heart of it.  There's a butcher, a baker, a bookstore, a shoe maker, and a place to buy a candlestick. Makers of fine clothiers, hat-makers, and jewelers are drawn into the  fabric of Westbourne making it the most fashionable pocket in Dorset.

The small community is also nourished with four good pubs, three Indian restaurants, a first rate Greek eatery, a French patisserie, and a Bang and Olufsen shop to boot.  My bank is a stone's throw away and the tellers know my name and never ask for i.d.  Even the local street sleeper Ralph, who used to sleep in the bushes died tragically a year ago is still missed and remembered by everyone.  So how can a trendy district such as this, with bad parking and expensive clothes care so much for a roughian?

But the busiest business is a convenience shop run by a South African couple.  It operates like clockwork opening at 5am till ten at night. Patriotic flags hang outside and with hanging baskets of flowers.  Directly above, the flats have been drastically improved with new windows and a repaired roof, sandwiched between lazy landlords who I imagine must wince by comparison.  This couple have carved out a living for themselves and probably risked a lot in doing so.  So capitalism -Yes!

A Mega-Mart lies up the street, a short 15 minute walk away, with it's 24 hour shopping, ample parking, and petrol. But this hog has decided to moor a piggy ship in the middle of Westbourne.  It's prices compete by tens of pennies and will cost the community it's personality and intimacy which drove people here in the first place.  Now is that a fair trade?

Capitalism I think needs revising.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The man who rocked the boat

Christopher Hitchens has been a regular guest on global news networks for the last decade and he usually appears looking disheveled, hungover, and wearing a suit that he slept in.  His opinion intrigues people because his mind is anything but asleep.  I admire the man for his courage and opinion which has been contraversial but he's done his homework, knows his history and has the wit to take on the worst thugs and baffoons this world has ever seen. He's a maverick and think-tanks far and wide have scratched their heads in baffled amazement. He's original I love him.  But my favourite is how he perfected the insult by way of an understatement, "That ugly little toad"  for instance is more devestating than the most vulgar of profanity.

Christopher Hitchens is a peddler of atheism and has published books in it's defence.  A century ago Charles Dickens said,  "An education without God, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a clever devil". 

Hitchens has been struck by the cancer stick.  He'll die by and bye, but I'd love to be there when he meets Jerry Falwell on the other side.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


For the last two months I've been tending and cultivating vegetables from a garden. Which consist of 5 terraces about 30 ft each in length of which the previous owners neglected and allowed the beds to slip into an over-grown declivity.

Thanks to a glorious summer, this garden of mine has yielded; peas, and over-grown mange-tout madness maze, lettuce spry and turgid enough to make a green grocer wilt and enough spuds to supply a McDonalds. My strawberries never make it to the table, and soon they'll be onions, and globe carrots, and more lettuce, red this time.  Don't ask about my cabbages because they lay in ruin and the sizable slug cemetery nearby proves it so, and a devil of a butterfly who won't quit laying her ravenous spawn in the up-turned palms of the great and green leaves. Speaking of green, my thumb pales in comparison to my dirty fingernails.

But I must have done something right because a toad has moved into the vicinity and went to work on the slugs like a ravenous grave-digger.  But in truth, my toad sat there and refused my live offering like a child turning down a plate of brussel sprouts.  But toads are good for gardens, they say, and I hope he stays.  It's been hard work and it hasn't been until now, writing all this, that how fun, inspiring, and therapeutic this exercise has been for me.

And still, the miserable Brits are complaining about the heat wave.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Carl Jung...

"Projection occurs when a person sees in another qualities they themselves possess. This phenomenon goes on daily in most relationships and encounters. Whenever a person is convinced that the awful qualities seen in another person have nothing to do with him or herself, a projection is mostly likely being engaged. This does not mean, however, that these qualities are not present. It merely means that they probably exist, to some extent, in the person observing them.

"The Good News/Bad News Attraction.

"Another common projection involves envy. When a person envies another, more than likely that person already possesses the qualities in some unexpressed state. Whether observing negative or positive qualities, more than likely that person is engaged in projection and existing under a kind of spell. They are not seeing all that is. How to awaken from this spell and reclaim a true picture of a person or situation becomes an important task in self-development.

"The good news is that a person already possesses those qualities they thought they lacked; the bad news is that that a person already possesses those qualities they thought they lacked!  What attracts two people is that each possesses what the other wants. The secret is that what the other wants is already locked away in inside themselves.  Unfortunately, the rule applies both ways. Whatever a person feels is safely locked away from view can be generally found alive and well in another."

Carl Jung was a grave but brave optimist!

Who are we not forgive one another?  Whether you like it or not, we have to,  like speed limits and taxes.  But by examining our faults through the projections we find in each other we can refine our selfish selves, and at the end of the day we are brothers and sisters in arms.  

So before we go big and be a martyr for all the wrong doers that have pissed us off for years and years, let us take a moment to be gentle and kind especially to ourselves and also to our enemies.

So let us be kind.

Monday, 31 May 2010

And the Mirror answered sweet and low, "The horse's name is Mistletoe."

Britain seems like a toilet sometimes, especially when irresponsible politicians secretly peddle powers over to a doomed EU pipe dream.  This country is caught in the back-eddy of a Marxist ship with Brussels at the helm.  But before anyone tries to pull the chain on Stonehenge or flush Shakespeare down the bathroom of our hearts, there's still ASCOT! 

Female attendees to this royal event are required to wear a hat, which is a relief to me because my short hair (due to neglect) has wilted into an indistinguishable long-short-do which, at the best of times, can neither brace the wind nor stand up to the lightest of showers.  So I'll put off another trip to the salon and invite my Mum to go hat shopping with me instead, or I might just concoct something myself out of brick-a-brack and a bit of tinsel.

As for Ascot, The Queen herself will be in attendance and, to preserve tradition and boost pageantry, she'll arrive each day in a horse-drawn carriage.  Ascot is a shot in the arm for Britain's social calendar, and the press coverage of attendees often exceeds that of the actual racing. The Royal Enclosure has a strict dress code—gentlemen must wear full morning dress including a top hat, whilst ladies are not permitted to show bare midriffs or shoulders and must wear hats.  But alas, I won't be allowed into that corral stuffed with peacocks and penguins, instead I'll be grazing with the lesser known charlatans, commoners, and serfs wearing a baseball cap.

On the left is Beatrice, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Fergie, and the best of British journalists captioned her as "The Princess and the Pea".  Brilliant!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Late but worth the wait

A good friend of mine flying in from the States on his way to South Africa landed with a generous twelve hour layover at Heathrow airport (luckily dodging the BA strike by a shift or two), so naturally we made plans to meet up.  I caught the first coach to London this morning, caught the express train into the City, the tube to Charing Cross, and then caught a cold whilst I stood outside the National Gallery under the pouring drizzle to wait for him.  The arrangements were loose I'll admit, and I worried that he'd got lost, or even had the temerity to leave the airport. 

But I didn't gripe at being stranded at Trafalgar Square. It was a black and red pageantry of taxis and buses versus tourists and pigeons which flurried beneath the great neck of Nelson's Column, while his nobler cousin Big Ben loomed over his shoulder sitting comfortably in the mist by Thames.  Nay, did I grumble one bit.  After an hour or two of waiting, I retreated to the nearest coffee boutique which had sofas, warm jazz, and free wi-fi, and I watched my London whirl on by.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Crossing Pollen

(Inspired from Darrian's blog post )

Rely on friends and be just as dependable in return.  But somewhere in life I picked up along the way (and it's hardly a skill)  to expect nothing from those people on the fringe, you know the ones floating around in neutral waters that haven't done anything yet.  Then when the time comes and they fail, you are prepared but when they do come through with the goods you are pleasantly surprised, elated even!  So "expect nothing and aim low".  But that hardly makes for sound advice and barely passes for an insolent bumper sticker. Anyway, here's this...

Friday, 21 May 2010

Betta Billboards

A handful of my photos were selected for a National Geographic sponsored contest for you to vote your favourite photo.

What a shame all my fish are dead.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Someone else's song from a long time ago...

Steven Pressfield once wrote that when the moment comes and you decide to sit down and start to write, take the time to tidy up your space so that when The Muse arrives and the inspiration starts to flow, she won't spoil her gown when she enters in. So, taking Pressfield's advice, I create order out of chaos by simply making my bed every morning, regardless of my mood.

As a spiritual human I've come to believe that when it's all said and done and my physical body is dead I'll look back upon this earthly sojourn and cherish it's unique learning experience.  I'll actually miss being a human in spite of my flaws. We'll regret all the time we spent fretting over money; the accumulation, the saving, the spending, the wasting and so on. I once had the chance to marry a man who'd have made me ten times wealthier than my parents overnight. I laughed about it to my mother once telling her that if I did marry him I'd show up for dinner one night wearing wobbly stiletto's, huge sunglasses, and dripping with diamonds.

I read somewhere once that "money doesn't bring you happiness, but it puts you in the general vicinity". The general vicinity of what exactly? Different problems that's all. Money is to be spent, like time is. I imagine that that's what makes me a Reaganomic Conservative, but also broke most of the time.

The one thing that binds us humans together is Time, we're subject to it's ticking march. And so we'll find that we spend our time doing what we love.

So do what you love and forget everything else.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Notes on Britain Part I

Earlier this year I had a job working in a British restaurant. I was employed, working behind the bar making up drinks for the waitressess who were taking orders from the floor and giving them to me to fill. They'd chat amongst themselves talking of nothings and watching the clock like Big Ben were about to strike the end of another year.  I don't blame them, it was after all a nine hour shift working for minimum wage and no tips.

So it didn't take long for me to realize that all the experiences I'd gleaned from working in America was deemed insufficient and useless beginning with the first problem of ICE.

In the UK if you want the afore mentioned CHILL in your drink, you have to ask for it, and then after a while a couple of cubes will (dis)appear in your drink in due time depending on the crap service that you may or may not be subjected to.

So slipping around on a greasy floor searching for the large scoop I'd been used to in the States, I was mystified by a pair of oversized plastic tweezers and it's mate being a pixie sized ice-bucket. Replenishing that bucket had me running up and downstairs to the ice maker which lay below in a grimy cellar which wreaked of damp and reminded me of the country I did NOT want to live in.

And so I created a LIVING IN BRTAIN CODE:

To any Blighty visiting America for the first time they'll find it, like I did at aged 12, the land of the free re-fills and the self-service soda machine one of the highlights. But unlike the States, England where every beverage is deemed a rip-off, one of the few things a Brit will never complain about is in a restaurant especially when they're parked on home turf.

Complaints over a small thing such as ice is usually disguised by your average Brit and is done by an apology, and with discretion. Complaining anymore than that (whether you're right or wrong) is to be avoided and here's why:

Sending whole plates of food back for whatever reason is completely out of the question, especially when dining out with your new found friends. Furthermore, it makes everyone at the table feel uncomfortable and they all wish that whoever invited the stuntman rocking the boat will never be welcomed back. Don't worry, they'll complain and apologize to each other at a later date but never in front of your face.

Don't be put off though because complaining in the correct fashion is a great British pastime, centuries old and steeped in authenticity. A person visiting Britain will encounter this phenomenon in social settings nation wide. In fact complaining passively is even believed to boost morale in the work place! Which leads me to the topic and subtle art of the 'effective complaint'. 

It is advised to anyone experimenting with their first friendly complaint to start with a nascent headache or better yet find the worst part about your job and make a comment about that, and then just take it from there. You'll even find that making new friends and talking to strangers that they'll relax instantly with your light-hearted gripe, and with a bit of luck and good judgement you'll be greeted with unanimous approval.  If you get scared and draw a blank start complaining about the British weather (even if it's sunny). Trust me, it will never fail and still remains the oldest complaint in the book. Except for this recent credit crunch which has reached monolithic proportions. In fact, it's universal appeal is exciting for me because for the first time in decades the British really have something substantial to complain about. I believe it has ignited a type of national pessimism that continues to unite anyone wishing to participate in a collective display of mediocre patriotism that only the British are capable of.

God Save The Queen!

Monday, 10 August 2009

The scene behind the work

I've been giving the old blog a make-over in my spare time so it's been down a lot lately.  My apologies for the 'invitation only' scare it was my only option during the dismantling process.  I intend to transfer all content over to and the move has been anything but seamless, but I'm learning a lot about html and website building.   I've starting writing some thoughts about Britain from an ex-pats perspective, so keep watching this space...  

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A look into an Abyss

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo but for my friend Tommy: He's not exactly in synch with denial....

The news in Salt Lake hasn't changed much, except our friend and hero Tommy jumping up and down in the background of 2 News for Utah with a banner in his hands! Only for the first 8 seconds mind you.... Bravo Tommy!

My heart is pounding with Salt Lake Rhythms ushered in by Robert Burns and his lady love Clarinda; an amateur Poess who was hot on his heels.

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Puffin Crunch

What is a blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.

Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules.

In simple terms, a blog is a website, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.

Since Blogger was launched in 1999, blogs have reshaped the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.

And we are pretty sure the whole deal is just getting started.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

"Don't leave your bag in a car" another proverb from George Joyce

Things must be going well; Puffin is in the process of building the biggest bubble nest I've ever seen. Or, is he taking me for a ride? You never know in the land of cut-throat England, things aren't always what they seem. I've been teaching my cockney caveman friend how to use the internet and I lent him my iPod because he loves one of my favorite artists Greg Brown. I went down to the Bournemouth beach to meet his son, Michael Joyce, who's a chef for Gary Rhodes restaurant in Christchurch - a historical town close to Bournemouth. And while we were walking along the beach promenade enjoying the view of Old Harry's Rocks, and the setting sun's promise of summer, Michael's fiancee's car was smashed into and George's backpack was stolen, along with my iPod.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

You can't scam a scammer - George Joyce

I ask a million questions to whoever I decide to talk to. Whether it be a copper, a 'baccy' smuggler, a snob in high heels, or the local "rough sleeper" who's name is Ralph and sells the Big Issue outside of Marks here in Westbourne. Living in the Salt Lake valley for the last 12 years feels like cotton wool compared to here. People seem angry and will take what's not theirs because everyone feels like they're owed something. Animals have more decency. I've done a lot running around Bournemouth at night through the debris filled streets into clubs and out again and into a cab screaming my address and "get me outta here". The village of Westbourne is quaint and has been compared to Florida i.e lots of wealthy retired people. A favorite comic of mine once commented about the region, that the big give away are the RAMPS everywhere, even the shop windows are bi-focals. But the sum of all I've learned is yet to deliever it's purchase.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

He wasn't that bad after all.

The interview went swimmingly until I started taking pictures, and then he asked for some references. He thinks I'm NUTS. He was very normal. So normal and fair that I hired him to clean my apartment once a month. He declined.

High-ho high-ho it's off to work I go

I shut my computer off for a day, listened to Beethoven's 9th and cleaned the penthouse. I felt squeamish about some of my blog entries and worried that I've been revealing too much and so I tried to forget about the internet altogether. Didn't last long!

Today, I have an interview with a guy I met in the village who's the assistant manager at some chain restaurant over here. I have the job, the interview is just a formality or more accurately, an opportunity for him to showcase his minute position of authority and flirt with me alone in his office. I've been rehearsing all morning how to look interested and how NOT to roll my eyes, but keep fantasizing about a swift left hook to his face. Hoo-aah!

I'll have to remember to NOT mention the ole blog in the interview.... let's wish him luck. Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang showed some compassion to the poor chap and rightly pointed out that he hasn't a clue as to who he's dealing with....

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

He's not a Siamese Fighting Fish, but a fighter nonetheless

As part of my English experience (other than eating fish n' chips and waiting for the bus) I'm getting to know the locals, the real Brits. Like the cab driver I remember as a kid in the back of a black taxi with my parents in London and him telling his story and the sudden disappointment of the arrival because there was always more to his tale. Or in Cornwall on holiday and the woman at the ice-cream shop calling me "love" or "Ta, petal", or "thanks a million", or "Bloody 'ell mate!". It's BRITAIN! And I'm trying to find it's finest. Or should I say, IT is finding me.

There's a Cockney man (cab driver type) that I have befriended here in the uppity little village of Westbourne and before I paint a picture of im through clever words and quoting his magnificent colloquialisms of old London I'll show you this photo I took of him. I'm sure Charles Dickens would have done the same if he could.

Meet George Joyce - born and raised in Landon town and is the last of a dying breed who loves his country and hates bureaucrats. But he chooses to fight them and claim every benefit he can just so the mass exodus of immigrants can't. I'm on the front lines of socialism warfare over here.

"The country's gone MAD!" he says rolling a cigarette using smuggled 'baccy' a friend of his picked up in Gibraltar. Tobacco gets taxed 3 times just crossing border lines within the E.U. He told me yesterday that, after filling out copious amounts of paperwork ("cor blimey") that The Council has decided that he's eligible to receive 50p a week for housing benefit. "That's more than a bloody postage stamp" he barks. Other great words are "barmy" and "crikey". He called me "clever clogs" the other day and I nearly died, it took me waaay back. I also got a cloud of tax free tobacco smoke in my face.

The man is a class act, the real McCoy and a fella I'm privileged to know. He should be followed around with a camera for all of us to enjoy. I'm sad to have lost my phone because, while talking with George one time and asking him a million questions like some kind of reporter, I had my finger on the record button. He knows this because I'm not sneaky and I can tell the man anything.

He's living the BettaLife without even knowing it. And I'll explain why sooner or later.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Learning how to say sorry

I've been angry at the world lately and took it out on a friend last night firing off vitriolic emails which were unfounded and not even close to the truth. I'm up late because I was up late last night talking with my Delta airline connection which will bring me back to the WINDs of POETry. With regards to the woman I offended I have apologized and made amends and learned; It doesn't matter if one steps in s*** but how one wipes it off. And I did both successfully. One can only hope for forgiveness. I will be forever a student of life. And a disciple of the Pollen Pathway.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

'Just Keep Buggering On' - Winston Churchill

The last few days have been stormy both outside of my window and inside of me for reasons I'll not share on this public outpost of my own frontier. So sitting alone and pulling the cloak of heavens darkest blanket around me and spitting bullets of vitriol in every direction I ceased for a moment yesterday and picked up the phone and called favorite poet, Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Without even telling him of my woes, he was inspired to tell me how each of our trials are tailor made to suit our needs exactly to strengthen and fortify us as humans. The man's right. And I'll share why.

Starbuck, my love and hero sits in a prison cell and will remain there for 2-6 months. That's his trial designed perfectly for him. As horrible as it sounds and as embarrassing as it is for me to be in love with an 'inmate' I have to respect God's plan and not to compare my trial with his or anyone elses for that matter.

Then there's my eternal friend, Sister Bacon Sizzle (you know who you are!) and I recall her experience from about 15 years ago when she asked the Universe for a challenge specific to her weaknesses so she may grow stronger. She got the challenge alright and overcame it beautifully but not without significant pain and frustration. What a woman! Her humility is astounding. I'm grateful to her and Mr KK/BB's, my parents, and Starbuck's, for I sit on the shoulders of giants and I'm learning everyday from The Master. My Muse.

So as I reflect upon these things, the feeling and presence of something greater than myself overcomes me. And what's more, I look to my left and see Puffin blowing his third bubble nest this month. He has forgiven me!

My friends, life goes on and things will invariably get worse or better but can always improve once we understand that our challenges cannot be compared to our brother's plight and that we realize our sentence is measured according to our own unique design. And then as we wake up to the challenge of our new dawning day, like a feast waiting to be devoured, we can allow the richness of life to wash over us. But before that happens we must be forced to our needs.

Happy belated Mothers Day Mom:)

Comic Relief aka Red Nose Day here in the UK

(the little pop-up dating ad which comes with the video is purely coincidental - Markus!)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Mr KK/BB has been lurking among the weeds....

Monday, 23 March 2009

Suicidal Blonde

I removed Puffin's lid tonight and set my camera to high speed continuous shooting mode (that's 6.5 shots per second) and sat there waiting for the bird to fly. I don't hate Puffin, I just need SOMETHING TO HAPPEN!! I've been a FREElance photographer for a local magazine and working my bloody socks off! I've made a car payment with the money I've dropped on cabs, I have not been taking care of my two week long flu, and putting batteries in my speed lite flash like it was some thing with big teeth out of a George Lucas trilogy. I'm desperate for payback, something to make my soul fly and there's nothing that could make it soar like capturing my very own fish in flight. On normal days Puffin has been spotted dancing freely to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 in C# minor: Adiago Sostenuto. But other than that it's pretty much Nuffin.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Attention all BettaHeads

Puffin jumped out of his bowl last night. Luckily I was at my computer and sitting close enough to catch some movement from the corner of my eye. Puffin was lying there like a man drowning. I screamed, cupped my hands, and plopped him back in, and I can't remember what happened next. I remember waking up later on in the day and dreamt that Puffin and I were part of a traveling circus and people came from all over to see him ascend to the surface with great speed enough to launch himself up high into the air before plopping back into his bowl. I was the one running around trying to catch him. This is the first dream I've ever had of Puffin but not the first fish that's ever tried to escape.

Either Puffin is suicidal or I'm just a careless and negligent Betta Fish owner. So please BettaHeads keep your water level at least below an inch from the top of the bowl. If you forget (like I did) put some kind of cover over it. Like an empty Harrods Chocolate box for example. Puffin - I love you and I'm glad that today I'm not saying R.I.P Puffin

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Getting to know Ralph

The local tramp took my salt and vinegar crisps tonight.
I guess he needed the salt.
I over-filled Puffin Palace as well
Let's hope he doesn't jump out.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Going with the flow

There's a homeless man who stands outside of Marks and Spencer's here in Westbourne selling copies of The Big Issue. The man's name is Ralph. He's gruff, he's dirty, and his fingers are long and filled with grime. I don't often shop in Marks but when I do I'll give poor Ralph a quid or 50p, never more than that because I'm certain of where it will go.... or am I?

The first time I offered Ralph a loaf of brown bread he turned it down, I wish I could remember his reason now. A second time I offered him one of my two-for-one packs of cookies and he refused saying he couldn't eat sugar because it's bad for his "teef". Tonight I offered the guy my bottle of water and he said he had plenty already. The man sleeps in a bush, I've seen him! He's not a phony, but I can't stop thinking of that Seinfeld episode of "Top of the Muffin" when the homeless shelter turns down donations because the sacks of muffins were topless.

While I'm on a rant, let's turn to the nearly topless tramps that makes up Bournemouth High Society. I am a photographer for the highly fashionable and borderline pornographic publication of DV8 magazine where I go out at night and take photos of Bournemouth's must be "scene" in bars and clubs. I take pictures of STUNNING women; they've got the hair, the skinny arms, the lips, you name it, it's ALL going on. I'll take their photo and right after the shot they come clip-clopping over to view my LCD screen and then squawk that I must erase it (which I don't) and insist that I take another one. They then adjust themselves into a peacock-like pose far from the beauty I captured of them at first. It's madness I tell you, madness! After those nights, I'm glad to get home where I meet Puffin preening himself as nature intended.

I've still got the flu but at least I have FIRE!

Speak of the devil

I do have a fever and it's called the flu.

Monday, 9 March 2009

There's a bug been going around; Latin Fever

So the story goes: About a year ago when I was at the peak of my insanity I'd go down to my local tropical fish shop Fish4U (located 4010 S. Highland Drive SLC Utah) and hang out there, ask questions, check out the fish etc until (now this part is untrue and is now part of aBettablogs narrative) I became such a nuisance that I was eventually banned. So I created the character of Xavier Allzon LaFiesta and "sent him" to get me off of Fish4U's watch list. Banned from a tropical fish shop? Too hilarious of an idea for me to resist! But like any real rocket of a person, such is Xavier, there is a price to pay of knowing the guy. And that payment comes in the form of his good-for-nothing nephew; Jobim LaFiesta (see below). Who showed up at my Mum's house not too long ago and this is what I had to say about his latest antics.

"The look of total insolence!!! You have the WORST attitude Jobim. You were such a cute kid too. What on earth happened to you?? And how long have you been wearing that ridiculous bandanna? Mom said she's never having you over again, last Sunday was a disaster. You know my family are conservative republicans - what the hell were you thinking covering our front lawn with your handmade Che Guevara signs? Don't you know he's been dead for over 40 years, thereby making it impossible for anyone to "VOTE FOR CHE"?! It's "Viva Che" you moron."

Taken by my great therapist Eric Patton on my two month holistic retreat in the BC Rockies Canada.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Aloha! (a post revisited)

Happy Anniversary to my parents Robin and his Lady Elizabeth Grey (the one with the great hair). I've told many people that if I could have half their marriage I'd consider my life a success.

I remember living with them a few years back, there was an LED light in the kitchen which illuminated each time the garage door opened, signaling Dad pulling in from work.  I recall on many occasions, while chatting to Mum in the kitchen her seeing that light come on and running off into the bathroom to either adjust her hair or slap on a bit of lipstick. 

Congratulations Mum and Dad; 33 years and still going strong!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Singing in the drizzle

It's taken twelve years of being gone from this green and pleasant land to really appreciate Britain. I may have spent the last three months walking around like a tourist, standing at wrong bus stops, and been treated like an American but I'm loving every minute of it. I'm a foreigner in my home country. I can take walks on Bournemouth's worst day of winter weather and not even need gloves. And when I'm walking to the bus stop I think of my other home of Utah where there's five months of five feet of snow rotting in the streets.

But then there's always Mr Kiss Kiss bringing me home with his CamCam...

Grand Tetons Wyoming/Idaho border, spring 2008
courtesy Dave Christensen

It was about this time last year that I had about eight fish living in their separate bowls spread all over my tiny apartment and it had gotten so cold that I had to move them all into my warmer and much smaller bedroom. I was livin-la-bettaloca. There were so many bowls it was like a Chihuly glass exhibit!

(McQueen - right click on the highlighted links and select "open in new tab")

I heard something today and I can't stop thinking about it; that my expensive camera "aint worth a bob unless it's put to good use in saving mankind." And the man is right. He tells me that seagulls are feeding in landfills 100 miles inland instead of the food waste that could be dumped out in the ocean where the seagulls belong. My camera isn't worth a dime if I don't change the course of life for something better. I've written a poem but it's under construction so you'll have to wait.

And this was the geezer. A wise man, a blimin' wise man.

Remembering Diablo or is it Phil

This is the late "Diablo" flaring at himself in the reflection. According to later reports he was "protecting his bubble nest from familiar looking intruders." Ah, bless him! RIP Diablo.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

**Puffin Police**

Regretfully I kicked Puffin Palace for the second time this month and his little soft green tree --courtesy of DP FISHWAYS and anchored down with strange pebbles from Pompeii-- is now a leafy cloud in his bubble-less cosmos.
Some of the boughs hang down like a hammock and there Puffin sits and watches my every move, adjusting himself as I move around the room. It's the weirdest thing since Rojo.
Siamese Fighting Fish are among God's greatest creations! And the movie "Hot Fuzz" is one of man's...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009 be? That is the question.

Indecisiveness has been my Achilles heel since the moment I abandoned toddler-ville and that first word and imperative statement of "No!" What blissful certainty! Academia followed a few years later with it's perilous and uncertain waters of the 'maybe' and 'why not?' and I graduated with an obsession of seeing things from the other point of view. Throw on some strict Christian upbringing and I'm left on the battle field of what I should and what I want to do. Objectivism gone mad am I!

So, clinging to an empty barrel like someone lost at sea I ask myself what is FACT. What do I know? What do you know? I know beauty, virtue, and goodness when I see it and that I am a spiritual being having a human experience. That makes sense. That resonates and vibrates truth rhythms throughout my soul. When I'm in doubt about moral issues I'm grateful for my Dad who I go to for advice and direction. And when I'm alone and my brain and soul are divided and twice removed, and my to-do list is scrambled with egg and coffee stains I ask myself to make the distinction between what is important and what is urgent. And then I can move forward.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Don't go changing BettaHeads, miss you already

I'm heading up to York for a few days to reacquaint myself with the northerners. So while I'm gone I'm challenging all of you to do one random act of kindness each day; as though you were oiling the axis of our Earth's daily spin for good.

"Kissing eternity"

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A prayer for the grieving

My heart is heavy tonight for my dear friend and mutual fan Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, who recently lost his father in law. To Dave he was a good friend, and the one that invented the great pseudonym markusurealious. My thoughts and prayers are with my favorite poet and his family.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Talk about the face of defeat!

O Puffin, Get over it!

I accidentally kicked my nightstand earlier and Puffin's bubblenest popped into oblivion. I walked into my bedroom a short while later and saw Puffin hanging there looking up at his now vacant bubble-less ceiling. The drama, the silence! I felt really bad so I walked into the village and picked up a bottle of Scottish spring water since he's due for a water change. Hopefully he'll develop an accent and a love for Robert Burns...

O my luve is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel, awhile!
And I will come again, my love
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.

Robert Burns

And he huffed and he puffed and he blew and blew.....

'Puffin Palace' is located on my nightstand to my left and from there he watches me at my computer. When I get into bed at night Puffin will turn 180 degrees and watch me read until I turn off the light.

One day as we were both staring at each other wondering what the other was thinking, and me trying to put myself in his fins, he popped up to the surface for a breath. It then occurred to me how bright the bulb of my lamp must be in his eyes every time he ascends so I placed over his vase a black 6x4 piece of cardboard to shield him from the glare.

I continued with my work on the computer and about 20 minutes later saw that Puffin's bubblenest had almost tripled in size! I have been studying/writing about BettaFish for over a year now and I have never read anywhere that a dark cover on a Betta Bowl would encourage bubblenest blowing.

This is breaking news for all Betta enthusiasts.

Friday, 13 February 2009

What is a bubblenest?

This is taken from

One day you wake up and see a grouping of tiny bubbles at the surface of the water in your betta’s tank. It may be along the tank wall, right in the middle, on the edge of a plant leaf, or another special place in your betta’s tank. What are all of these little clear bubbles you may wonder?

Betta Bubblenest

This huge bubblenest was blown by the betta Ermac. (Photo taken by Mike).

The purpose of a bubblenest
While it’s just fun for us to observe our betta building and tending to his bubblenest, the nest itself actually serves a very important purpose in the spawning process between male and female. A male betta builds a bubblenest as a means of attracting a female to mate. Once the nest and male gets the approval of a female and a spawn occurs, the male will place and tend to the fertilized eggs in the nest where they will later hatch.

The building of a bubblenest
If you’re lucky enough to catch your betta blowing bubbles for his nest, which usually takes place in the dark at night, it’s quite the interesting procedure. The male will take in air at the surface, then swim to the area beneath where the nest is being made and release a small bubble or two. The betta will continue this method back and forth until a nest of many bubbles is formed as they build up beneath each other. The actual bubbles are produced with mucous and you will notice they stick well to each other and any surrounding surfaces, which serves as a means to keeping eggs safe in the nest.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Now bzzzz has been silenced

As one last tribute to The Busy Bee I'm posting a poem I wrote while I was still working there. But after that it's back to my fish because PUFFIN has started building me a BUBBLENEST!!!! This only means one thing - that my love is being reciprocated (he's ready for lurve too but I won't go into that.) So here goes....

The Busy Bee - a poem

It’s the same everyday come rain or shine
When they walk through the door I consider them mine.
I tend bar at The Bee; a dive bar on State
We serve chowder for lunch and stay open till late.

I’ve heard many stories from behind the beer taps
The fish grows by inches after every Pabst.
But it’s more than just burgers and blue collar beer
They come for the “Hey Hun, it’s about time you were here!”

The regular fellows are Paul, Bob, or Mike
And a bearded Green Bay fan who arrives on a bike.
There’s a priest, and a poet, and a blond with long hair
And a grumpy old cop who sleeps in his chair.

There’s a phone with no numbers not even a dial
And the men’s room is scary and needs some new tile.
There’s a photo of George dressed up like a girl
The loudest one in there he's deaf, and it's Earl.

The beer has been flowing for some 65 years
It started with veterans but now there’s some queers.
Speaking of which let’s turn to the Greeks
The first to say homos were humans not freaks!

They’re mad with the Romans and resent the Turks
And still taking credit for Plato’s great works.
So unless you’re in Greece don’t bother with feta
The burgers and fries at The Bee are much better.

Dave buddy, yours is next.
The Beer Hive

Did you think that you would ever see
beer dispensed by 2 stunning Queen Bees

Serving chilled golden nectar from 'On Tap'
with frosted base and frothy cap

Dreaming as you sit and stare
smelling sweet brews mist in the air

That maybe they'll let you drink all day
until your mind just drafts away

Then imagining your mouth might press
against a kegs sparkling effervescent breast

But sometimes in complete surprise
they'll bring you a ruben and nice order of fries

Poems are composed by fools like me
as I watch Mira and Cindy serving beer
at the Busy Bee

More of Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's (aka Dave Poet aka Markus Surrealious) can be found in the Betta Songbook in the BettaLinks section in the margin to the right.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A Major Kink in their Plans

The Busy Bee is a dive bar on State St. in Salt Lake City Utah that I used to tend bar and a job I had a lot of fun doing. And according to various accounts it has recently been closed down after 60+ years of doing business. For what reason? I've heard conflicting stories which fits The Bee's usual fare of gossip mongering. It's a sad end to an era not just for the regulars but for Utahns who go in looking for cold beer and the best garlic burger in town. I loved it because it reminded me of the pubs here in England, a true neighborhood bar filled with your regular wankers, tossers, and knob ends. (sorry mom!)

R.I.P. The Busy Bee Bar and Grill

At least we're not saying goodbye to BarnaBee the resident Betta fish I bought while I was there. And I believe he's in good hands, thanks to my good friend Cheri:)

For the Bee photo album click here:

(Hello Mike - welcome to the web!!)

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Puffin and the Bloodworms

The only down side to keeping a BettaFish are the bloodworms I feed them. They're packaged into frozen cubes which need submerging in a little water and as it melts the vile things seem to wriggle back to life. Don't be tempted to throw a whole cube in with your Betta because an all-you-can-eat buffet is in fact lethal. I used to think overfeeding led to some kind of gut-explosion and was the reason behind Rojo's untimely demise but actually because of excess food decomposing and releasing toxic nitrates into the water, which can happen very quickly. So, I'm afraid your thawed out legions need to be put back in the freezer. Just keep them away from the ice-cream, ugh!

This is my new fish by the way. His name is Puffin and I love him. He's everything you'd want in a Betta; attentive, thoughtful, and even conscientious enough to "go" in his tree...

"Puffin Palace"

"Puffin Poo"

Friday, 6 February 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

In 1984 Britain's Torvill and Dean mesmerized the world with their gossamer indigo whirl of flawless ice dancing. They chose one of my favorite pieces of classical music to dance to, Ravel's Bolero. I'm still bewitched when I watch them today.

The duo won the first ever 6.0 for a compulsory dance at the 1984 Olympics. This performance is art, practice, precision, and beauty at it's finest. Watch close as Christopher Dean leads Jane to dance the very heartbeat drum of Ravel himself.

This reminds me of my Betta Diablo's performance where he played the part of Romeo in a swim/dance recital.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Remembering Phil et al


This is such a tragic loss. I am flooded now by memories. I remember how much I loved watching the Phil Donahue show especially when he'd come out and play his fiddle. His music always filled me with so much joy. And I'll never forget those commercials I enjoyed so much that Phil did for Philip-Morris Tobacco Co. They inspired me to start smoking again. Will he be buried in Philadelphia? I feel your pain, Moneypenny. To help you with your mourning process can I recommend a movie that might lift you up again? 'Kill Phil' is a favorite of mine for occasions such as this.. I hope it too might heal your breaking heart.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Yes it was a rather tragic ending to an otherwise eventful and fun trip. Katie delivered a wonderful eulogy by the toilet as I layed Phil into his final resting place. On his stone is written:
Feb 24,2008 to Jan 28,2009
He was one hardy fish


Saturday, 31 January 2009

Sticking your neck out

And the Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them". [Exodus 32: 9-10]

Now, I don't know about God's wrath but my friend Anne Bradshaw, author of is hosting a contest/giveaway on her blog featuring a DVD lecture about alternative ways and preventative means to solving physical pain. Anne's great, and a total guru when it comes to grinding wheat, staying healthy, and diluting dish soap which I do now thanks to Anne.

Anyway check it out

Friday, 30 January 2009

The Religion of PHILosophy - putting the heart in hearty

R.I.P Phil who passed away last week.

I proof read this post to my brother over the phone last night and he suggested that I differentiate man from fish. So, before I begin the story:

Tommy is my friend, is a person, and is still alive today. Phil is also my friend, but is a Betta fish and is now dead.

Tommy works for Delta Airlines and right after he got Phil was inspired to take a demotion at work so he could spend more time working on his passion of dismantling Harley Davidson motorcycles in his living room... One of the perks (or penalties) that came with this demotion was being posted at Las Vegas' McCarran airport for a few weeks every year. For the 2009 assignment Tommy has neither confirmed nor denied his "servicing" the slot machines at the Delta terminal but one night at the tables during a winning streak a man in a tuxedo interrupted Tommy's hand and placed in front of him an over-sized black telephone. A bewildered Tommy picked it up and received the news about his fish.

"I have to go" he said and picking up his jacket (he hadn't bought any luggage) cashed in his chips and was on the next flight out of Vegas.

A short while later he arrived home to Miss April who'd been BettaSitting for him. She had lit a small fire on his front lawn and invited the neighbours over for hot dogs. Tommy, not recognizing anyone, brushed past the crowd and called for April who was in the kitchen and had been drizzling melted chocolate over a pyramid of profiteroles she'd made, but was now standing on a chair and pouring it from a great height into the mouth of a gentleman who also looked completely unfamiliar to Tommy.

"Meet the neighbours!" sang April laughing as she missed the guys mouth and covered his mustache and nose in warm chocolate. "These aren't my neighbours!" screamed Tommy grabbing a towel and throwing it at the man. "April! Where's my fish?"

Who knows how Phil died and a surprising number of Betta owners have no idea why one day their little guy winds up floating at the edge of the bowl. I suggested that Tommy take a water sample down to Fish4U in (Salt Lake City 4010 Highland Drive) and like any good tropical fish store a simple pH test will tell the truth. To complete this Betta experience I have linked up with and and would encourage anyone with BettaHealth issues to consult these sources of first rate advice and support. But as for the religion of BettaLiving you can stay right where you are....