#SoldOut Raising Funds and Awareness

I recall many years ago standing on the terraces at Hampden Park, Glasgow with 145,000 other rabid fans, waiting for the teams to come out of the tunnel to begin the annual Scotland v England ‘Home International’ football,(soccer), game. There would always be 140,000 Scots and about 5,000 English fans in attendance. As a Scot, born and bred, I was brought up, just like the majority of others who were standing around me, to ‘hate’ the English with a vengeance. It was just part of our parochial culture at that time, and probably still is today, although I have not lived in Scotland for 40 years and with the demise of Scottish football and an awareness that political correctness is now the order of the day, perhaps the ferocity of that hatred has mellowed. The two teams, now standing in the center of the field, would face the main stand, where all the dignitaries were seated, and the British national anthem would begin, God Save the Queen. This was before the Scots were allowed to sing their own anthem, a change in protocol that occurred some years later. The band, yes, a real brass or bagpipe band, would strike up the first chord and immediately there would be a wall of noise emanating from the Scottish support just booing as loud as possible at the UK anthem. It completely drowned out the band and any semblance they had in mind of being heard as a unit. We hated that anthem, supposedly, and we all gave it little or indeed no respect. Within seconds, our vocal distaste of everything that the British Monarchy stood for was demonstrated by this blasphemous howling and booing which seemed to last an eternity, but which in fact lasted only about 120 seconds, the length of the British national anthem being quite short. Once over, the game began and the fact that 140,000 Scottish football fanatics had remonstrated vocally against our forced inclusion under the monarchy we all loved, or at least some of us loved, was soon forgotten as the football took over and blood and guts was then spilled on the field of play rather than on the streets of Glasgow. It should also be noted that while the anthem was sung by the players on the field from the England team, all the Scottish team just stood in silence, some smiling, some not, but to a tee, not one of the Scottish team would sing along. It was an unwritten rule, followed religiously. Silent protests against supposed oppression, acceptable and respected throughout the world. No harm done, no one to cry foul. Until now!

When Colin Kaepernick knelt down for the Star Spangled Banner whilst playing for the San Francisco 49rs some two years ago, the whole world, at least the world that surrounded American Football and Donald Trump, went berserk, and for what reason? Well as far as I can tell, the National Anthem was never played at any sporting event before the end of the second world war. And even after that, there were sports events in the USA where the anthem remained just a figment of everyone’s imagination, laying silent as battle commenced on the field of play. So why, all of a sudden, after Kaepernick and some of his fellow Pro’s decided to protest, quite justifiably in silence to make what has turned out to be a very relevant point on an issue that has haunted this country for generations, has the President of the United States and the owners of some of the football teams where protests have been continual and well publicized, lost the plot by telling players they will be fired if they continue to ‘abuse their privilege’? There is not one reason on earth why anyone should be forced to alter their beliefs, especially those who feel threatened or abused and more especially inside a country that not only preaches pure democracy and a right to free speech to the whole planet, but a country that encourages its populous to be vocal in the form of protest when under threat of unjustifiable racism. Racism is rife in America. You can smell it in the streets, it’s a pollution that has become silent in its poisoning of its population. Racism cannot be tolerated, hatred of anyone, any race, any creed and any color has to be kicked out, but, unfortunately, and in the opinion of this author, it’s just being swept under an already filthy carpet, where, when the dust is uncovered, it becomes a mountain of trash that is becoming ever worse and unstoppable, fueled by a President and government that just turns a blind eye and looks the other way whilst telling us all, quite disingenuously that there is absolutely nothing wrong! Well, not much!

My guitar teacher Tony, remember him from the first article I wrote last week, inspired me to make the lapel pins you see in the image above. The players protesting and following in the footsteps of Kaepernick, have a right to do so. It’s not disrespectful, it’s poignant, it’s their human right, it’s peaceful and most importantly, it’s something they believe in. However, it seems if these protests carry on players will be fired or, and I say this with the utmost respect, the President will have to intervene personally, something not one of us would like to see happen.

With all of this in mind, I have this idea, not only to raise the awareness to a very great cause, but to raise money for charities associated with racism and the profound effect that racism still holds on our society. The #SOLDOUT will soon display the pins pictured above for sale, to make people aware that there is genuine suffering out there, whether it be in the murdering of Jews in Pittsburgh, or the simplicity of daily senseless traffic stops on innocent African Americans, it matters not. We have a right to protest, so by wearing this pin, our protests shall be seen, and by the money we raise, out protests shall be heard.

Keep reading this blog for more updates and check out our Instagram #soldout to get your pin.

If there are any athletes, well known or otherwise and or charities, who would like to be considered as spokes people for this idea, please get in touch. Colin Kaepernick, if you read this please know that I have tried in many different ways to contact you because I believe you should lead this movement, but to date, no response.

Thank you everyone.

We Have Guns, But……

downloadBest article of the week so far came on NBC news last night, and I quote.

“The Russians say they have not invaded but their soldiers are carrying guns around in the streets of Crimea, only they haven’t fired them just yet.”

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. We come in peace, shoot to kill, as that old song suggested. Ukraine of course is in turmoil. Our politicians too are in turmoil, but most of all the poor people who claim citizenship of the Ukraine are in more trouble now then any of us could possibly imagine. And all through this unbelievable episode, Putin sits like a king on his throne telling everyone that Russia is a peaceful and well-meaning nation. How about No you’re not!

50 billion on the winter olympics and now 150 billion on another invasion of a yet another defenseless country. Yes, of course, Ukraine was at one time aligned with the old Soviet Union, but no longer do they give a rats ass about Putin and his cronies. Well some of them do, perhaps even half of them, but that’s not the point. The point is that yet again, we, as in the USA, are set to police a region that we should quite frankly stay away from. It’s none of our business and it’s not financially viable for us to get involved with yet another conflict.

Where does it all end? If we keep Ukraine stable, do we then go to Scotland in September of this year to ensure that their vote for independence, should it be unfavorable, is seen to be fair and just? Do we keep the good folks of Edinburgh and Glasgow happy by showing up on their doorsteps telling them, ‘it went well in Ukraine, so don’t worry, all will be well here?”

I just don’t get it. I have no idea what the foreign policy of this country is anymore, nor do I really care. We have millions of poor people struggling to survive right here in California and in all the other 49 states, so why get involved in someone else’s mess? Take the funds required to mend Ukraine and spend them here. At least we can all see the benefits! Right? I’ve seen too much of this ‘we need to be responsible for their problems’ attitude in my lifetime, and while I agree it’s better to help than to just watch, why have we done nothing about Syria in the 3 years since civil war broke out there and yet we are so involved in Ukraine after three short weeks? I’ll tell you why. It’s the old ‘cold war’ syndrome raising its ugly head yet again. The Russians, always fear the Russians. It’s ingrained into the American physique.

So, to all those poor Russian lads, marching endlessly up and down the high streets of every city in the Crimea with your guns loaded and your egos in a tizzy, I say to you simply and nicely,GO HOME. You don’t need to be there and we don’t need to tell you not to be there. These are all your people, all cousins, all brothers and or sisters. Leave them alone. March in Moscow and march with the hope you can change your own society the way Dr Martin Luther King, and others, changed our society. Only look carefully before you try because we fucked it up big time and now we are trying to impose our fuck ups on you!.

 

 

 

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downloadComing from Scotland, we never ever had to worry about drought conditions. It rains 300 days a year at least, sometimes more and very often 48 to 72 hours non stop. I arrived in California in 1992 and I recall phoning all of my friends on my first Christmas day, which was spent on Santa Monica beach where the temperature was over 80. My phone bill that day was over $200, money well spent I believed, bragging endlessly to those less fortunate than me, all sitting in a cold damp climate back in Glasgow Scotland. ‘If this was to be the norm’ I thought, then I was going to be a very happy person indeed. What could possibly be better than living in a climate where it hardly ever rains and where the lowest temperature in the winter is a balmy 60 degrees?? Two years after that glorious Christmas day basking in the sun, I moved north to San Jose, a short distance of 350 miles, where I expected similar climactic conditions to prevail, but was surprised that when I arrived, in January of 1995 it was raining and never really stopped until May of that same year. When I say it never really stopped, I mean that it rained and then we had perhaps two or three days in the 70’s and then it would rain again. This pattern, so I was told, was highly unusual and was created by a climactic effect called El Nino. El Nino is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather and climate around the globe and creates a sub tropical rain forest type climate that can take up to two years to dissipate. My concern that I had moved to a place where the reminders of Scotland were not just in the large mountains that surrounded San Jose, but also in the continual rainfall that mirrored my homeland, were to be short-lived. After May of 1995, I never saw rain again for about a year. I was amazed, happy, and reveling in this perfect climate where not only could I cultivate a permanent and obligatory sun tan, I could also play golf, cycle, coach outdoor sports of any kind and never fear that we would be rained off and banished to the house to watch movies or just snooze while unwanted big black clouds meandered past dropping gallons of unwanted water!

Roll forward to present day California.

It’s now 13 months since we have had any significant rainfall here. 13 months where the happiness of playing outdoors has turned to complete fear of never seeing rainfall again. It rained last week, for 5 hours, which, under the drought conditions in which we now find ourselves, was hardly a blessing and not enough water to come within 100 miles of alleviating the dire situation we are facing. There is little prospect of any more wet stuff, and this past week, Governor Brown, idiot that he is, has called a State of Emergency here in CA, asking everyone to use 10% less water until we see what the coming months rainfall will bring.

Governor Brown’s actions baffle me. NBC news showed the current situation from satellite pictures offered up by NASA. These pictures show our current water supply predicament compared to that of this time last year. They also show the snow pack levels, which are critical to our long-term water situation in that the ‘melt off’ affects our summer and Fall water levels. Small snow pack, very little water. If you look at these images, and if you talk to some of the farmers in our once fertile growing areas such as Napa, Modesto, San Joaquin Valley, we are fucked. There is little to no supply and absolutely no reserve plan. Governor Brown has it all wrong. We need rationing and we need it now.

I always believed that our next world war would be about water and its supply or lack of to those who were powerful but thirsty. This war is now upon us, certainly here in CA. Water is at a premium and if we don’t recoup our losses very quickly, we could find our state become the victim of an internal war between those who have and those who have not. We need to do something and we need to do it now. Asking all citizens of CA to volunteer to cut back their usage by 10% is a joke. How do you do this? Do you drink 10% less, wash only 90% of your car, water your lawn on one side but not the other? It’s ridiculous for the Governor to assume that all 38 million of us here in California will heed his commands. It’s naive and foolhardy to believe that even one person will listen to his plea, a plea that should be taken very seriously indeed. The Governor, in my opinion, has to grab the bull by its horns and become a water Nazi, and he has to do so right now. We would be well advised as a State to listen to the words that all of the experts are telling us. These words are, sufficed to say, scary and unbelievable, though very possible. “A 200 year drought” as one expert put it, would not be out of the question. If this happened, we are all screwed, but it might, and it might happen sooner that we believe. After all, according to climactic records, it wouldn’t be the first time and California IS a desert after all.

The Governor has to ban the use of hose pipes, garden sprinklers, and all unnecessary use of fresh water now, not tomorrow, not next week and not ‘let’s wait and see what happens. NOW! We need to conserve and we need to find a way to do it before this emergency becomes a crises that we can’t fix. This is our one natural recourse that is irreplaceable. This is the meaning of life, the elixir of all being, and where would we be without it? DEAD! Yes dead. We have no options but to plan for our future and while I realize that it won’t be easy, I am willing enough to partake in any plan that makes sense, and so should you.

While the rest of this country is being blasted by the polar vortex and temperatures well past minus 25 degrees, we sit here in CA basking in more sunshine, where, to the envy of most, it’s 80 plus. Do not kid yourselves, I know a lot of people here who are actually praying hard for rain. One of my friends, a man name Dan, posts on Facebook almost daily, that he’s doing the rain dance and we should all help him out. Dan, I hear you and I’m happy to do anything that will bring an end to this madness. We need water, and it’s not coming. Governor Brown, show us you are not the idiot I always believed you were. That failed politician who cannot find anything better to do in life. Get some cahones, some balls, and get them now. Ban us from washing cars, watering lawns and fix all the leaks we have in aging pipelines that are in desperate need of repair. The buzz word should be CONSERVE not selfie or tools or solutions. While we wait for your direction, people, take heed, spread the word and let’s see what we Californian citizens can do to make this work until one day the rain starts to fall again. 40 days and 40 nights wouldn’t be enough right now. We need more than divine intervention, but we need it as soon otherwise we will find ourselves in a position of no return and that’s a position I do not wish to see happen.

I’m off to think about washing my car. Thinking about it is better that actually doing it, but I have to begin somewhere, and I choose to begin today.

 

 

Club Med For Jews- A Short Story. Part 1

The summer of 1975 in Glasgow, Scotland, was only consistent in its inconsistency. One day the sun was there, the next, gone. There seemed to be no end in sight to my work or the rain. My feet ached from pounding the pavement—marching from one town to another, trying to sell anything I could, and running three to six miles every night to keep fit. I was sixteen years old, ambitious and bored.

However, things were looking up. Earlier in the year my parents had contacted a London organization called Kibbutz Representatives, and after the completion of much paperwork and the exchange of substantial funds, my sister, Ruth, and I were about to be packed off for an eight-week stay on a kibbutz in the Holy Land. From the day they told us they’d arranged this trip I was unsure what to expect, but as the time to pack my bags grew closer, I was really quite excited. I was certain it was going to be a fun, eventful trip, and I thought the experience would shape how I would live the rest of my life. I was right on both counts.

In 1975 Glasgow Airport was small compared to other airports around Britain. You could arrive 30 minutes before your flight and still be early. We would fly to London, where we would meet the rest of the group from the UK and Ireland, and then on to Tel Aviv. We spent a bumpy hour on a British Airways Trident aircraft—it was only the third or fourth time I had flown and I disliked the experience intensely—and before long were on the ground at Heathrow, where we would transfer to El Al for the five-hour flight to Tel Aviv.

I stood at the El Al counter with my platform shoes tied round my neck for safety. There was no way I was losing them; it was the 1970s and I was sure that every Israeli would want to see my impersonation of Gary Glitter. After Ruth and I checked in, we met some of the people who would join us on the way to Israel. Ruth was going to stay with one of my uncles who had lived on a kibbutz for many years, so she wasn’t on the same program as I was. My program dictated that I spend six weeks on a kibbutz and then two weeks touring with the group. According to the tour leader from Kibbutz Representatives, the group would split into ten groups of three to four once we landed; each of these smaller groups would then go to its own kibbutz. After six weeks on the farm (which is basically what a kibbutz is), we would be reunited for the tour.

I looked around and saw a young guy wandering back and forth between the check-in counter and the tour leader. He looked as lost as Ruth and I felt. Not being the shy sort (sales cures you of that rather quickly) I took my boarding card, walked up and introduced myself.

“Alan Zoltie,” I said, offering my hand.

“Andrew Henry,” he said, taking it.

“You excited?” I asked.

“Maybe,” he replied, taking a drag from a freshly lit cigarette.

“What Kibbutz are you on?”

“Hazorea. You?”

“Dunno, I need to find out.” I went off, with Ruth in tow, to find our leader. Then I noticed the looks on everyone’s face. I had become—or rather, my feet had become—the center of unwanted attention. My platform shoes were making quite a splash, and not for the right reasons. This was obviously going to be a shorts, T-shirt and sandals situation, and it was clear that my shoes were turning into this expedition’s first running joke. But I couldn’t dump them or give them to someone to take home, so I was stuck with them.

I saw our fearless tour leader heading for the exit. “Yo! Jimmy!”

He turned.

“Alan Zoltie. What Kibbutz am I on?”

He looked down a long list. “Hazorea.”

So Andrew, my first contact, and his tobacco habit, would be my best mate. Suddenly, Jimmy informed us that boarding and security checks would take an hour, and we departed for passport control, then security, then security again, and then, at last, the plane. It was a huge 747. I’d read about them and seen them on TV, but this was my first time on board such a monster aircraft. It looked big enough to house a disco and a bowling alley.

Ruth and I ended up in the very last row on the right side of the plane. I had a pamphlet explaining all the details of this marvelous aircraft in my hand—and was right in the middle of reading that a jumbo jet could fly above all known weather patterns, which was a comfort—when without warning we were hurtling down the runway at 250 kilometers per hour on our way to Israel. On our way to a new and different life, if only for eight weeks. This was the trip that would turn the boy I still was into a man. It was the beginning of my beginning. I was certain that it would be an emotional roller coaster, but while taking off from Heathrow I had no idea how fast that roller coaster was or how high (and low) it would go. When I returned, I would be fully aware how hard this planet was to live on, and how different the rest of the world was from Glasgow.

Yummy Yummy!

IMG_0029When I was a kid we used to look forward to the fair at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall. It arrived in December and played all through the Christmas and New Year period. It was an indoor fair but it still contained all of the attractions found in the more common outdoor versions that play regularly all summer long. There was a ferris wheel, dodgems, or bumper cars as most people refer to them, shooting the duck games, haunted tunnel, etc, etc. I also remember that we were often given a treat, just before we left to go home,  sharing a candy floss, (cotton candy), devoured in minutes by my two sisters and me.  Other treats you would find, (although we were never allowed to samples them) were hot dogs, (still in their infancy in Scotland at that time), Scottish pies, fish n’chips, and shortbread, (the real stuff), mixed with a plethora of sweeties and of course Scottish tablet or fudge. It was a huge night out for us kids and although at the time this event seemed as if it was held in a massive hall, once I grew up and traveled a little, I began to realize that the Kelvin Hall was really small in comparison to other venues I eventually discovered. Over the years, I have had the pleasure, although I sometimes wouldn’t be so bold to refer to it as pleasure, of experiencing fairs in many parts of America, all interesting, all filled with delights that would be better served on another planet and all frequented by people of differing sizes and ethnic backgrounds. But two weeks ago my son Paul asked me to go with him to the California State Fair, an opportunity I was unable to make, which, as it turned out, was a huge mistake from my standpoint. Read on.

The CA state fair is held in Sacramento. It only happens once a year, but that may be a blessing for those of us who are adventurous enough to try to ride the fastest rides, the tallest and most terrifying drops and sample extraordinarily strange and often delicious foods. My brief guide to the delicacies offered at this year’s state fair is brought to you courtesy of my son. I am going to list then one by one, along with his assessments.

IMG_00351 Krispy Kreme donut bacon cheeseburger!  An iced donut, split in two, encapsulated with a half pound Angus burger, melted cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato and onions and two rashers of thick salted applewood smoked bacon!! Calorific content, off the charts. Eating one of these would require defibrillation after consumption.  Red Cross volunteers provided by the fair, free of charge and lined up in waiting as each hungry fair-goer leans gently towards death by desire and stupidity with every delicious mouthful. Paul’s rating, a whopping 20 out of 10!

2 Deep fried turkey leg covered in smoked bacon. This 3lb delight is the largest turkey leg I have ever seen. It must have come off a prehistoric bird, or if was genetically modified just for this show. This monstrosity is filled with protein, fat and all the other good things that are bad for you. With two hands required to hold it and a mouth the size of the QE2 tunnel in London just to bite it, it probably feeds at least 4 but is sold as an appetizer for 1. Paul’s verdict. Go to the gym at least a month before attempting to ear this, not to lose weight, but to strengthen your biceps in order to be able to lift the damn thing off the counter when they serve it up.

3 Deep fried NY cheesecake. This whopping 1/2lb gooey ball, served on a stick, contains more cheese than is served daily at any Safeway, more batter than any baseball team has and the longest lollypop stick I have ever seen. It’s like looking at a Dunkin’ donut on steroids. A Rod is just a mere pretender in comparison to this beauty. Quite how they have managed to keep the cheesecake solid, I will never know. It’s deep-fried to perfection and boasted the largest line for people wanting to purchase any of these foods, with an incredible 45 minute wait just to be served. Paul’s verdict, and I quote, “One bite and I wanted to puke and then bite again!” In other words, it was incredible, but my stomach could only handle it one bite at a time and required emptying before the next bite.

4 I have left the best for last. Deep fried bacon covered chocolate. One large thick cut rasher of bacon, covered in dark chocolate,  fried once again and then served as a chaser to the cheesecake. Makes me want to throw up just thinking about it, but that would be after I have had time to take a wee nibble. Paul’s verdict. Keep clear of this one. Not only will it kill you instantly, it will embalm your body and corrupt your soul, simultaneously! Send LIPITOR!

And so, I have decided that the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, was just a pre cursor for me to go to the CA state fair next summer and spend all evening trying these abominably good delicious treats. I am salivating at the thought of ending my life prematurely in honor of my desire to to be the first person ever to consume all four of the above without any assistance, medical or otherwise. No wonder this country is obese. No wonder it craves more and more of the extraordinarily bad and no wonder everything that is good for you tastes like shit!  Kashi might be on a mission to make 7 grains delicious and popular, but with treats like this available and ready to go, who gives a shit about adding 10 years onto your life when your 80. I want it now, all the enjoyment, all the sugar, all the calories and all the satisfaction from eating what is simply, cruel and decidedly sinful!!

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Scotti-Leaks- What you always wanted to know about Scotland that was until now, hidden.

imagesWith Edward Snowden now looking to live in Russia, God only knows why he would want to do that, I thought it was time to come clean and admit to stealing precious never before released secrets about Scotland. Should the Scottish parliament decide I have breached the Official Secrets Act, I will of course flee the country in which I now live, (yes, they have an extradition agreement with Edinburgh) and seek residence in Grand Cayman, where, according to all my ex-wives, I have hidden my millions of dollars from their once greedy finger tips.

Snowden was a fool. He should have made a B line for the Scottish Highlands, where the mere fact that it rains every day and is engulfed by a semi-permanent darkness called ‘Scotch Mist’, would have kept him hidden from all satellite tracking systems and fanatical ex military types hired to capture him and bring him back to justice. Instead he will now be roaming the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg, or even Vladivostok, hanging on dearly to his Marlboro’s whilst trying hard to flag down a taxi driven by an alcoholic Russian who couldn’t give a fuck about anything except where his next smoke and pair of Levi jeans is coming from. At least in the Scottish Highlands Snowden could shag sheep, (and there and plenty of them), instead of drunk ugly Russian women, whilst claiming insanity and an insatiable appetite for the bizarre. Poor Edward, he should have known better.

What I have failed to understand is, what’s so important about letting the whole world know America is spying on it anyway? We all knew that already. The fact that our government is spying on its own citizens through the interception of phone conversations, emails, and social media content, well, that’s a matter I cannot overlook. It’s getting to the point where two tin cans held together by a piece of string is the only way I can keep my conversations private. One mention now of Osama, money laundering, shooting it up in Vegas and countless other ‘buzz’ words, and yep, here we go, the ‘secret’ communications satellite rounds an infinite corner up there in space, finds the exact position and street corner where my ‘alleged’ conversation just took place, and within 60 seconds (often referred to as one minute) the men in the big black van are standing opposite me with their huge arsenal of guns and missiles, all loaded and ready to fire, unless I surrender peacefully. Oh how things have change and oh how sad we have become as human beings. I’m not suggesting for one minute that all the worlds populous are pacifists, nor am I suggesting there are absolutely no bad people on this planet, but surely our paranoia has taken this whole idea about ‘living’ a normal protected life to another extreme? Surely there are better ways to find those who are trying to destroy us without listening to Mrs. Jones tell her husband  over the phone she wants to shag him tonight but only if he plays the part of a rich terrorist trying to kidnap her and take her away to Afghanistan? It’s overkill, stupidity and it’s just as well someone like Edward Snowden has the balls to inform us all, big brother is not just here, he is also the biggest of bullies and isn’t going away any time soon.

In Scotland, the ultimate sin would be to remain sober while divulging exactly what is going on inside that particular country. With thousands of pubs, great beer and the best whisky on the planet, there would be no need to stand up straight and tell the truth about the inadequacies of the Scottish diet, sectarianism found inside the church, (not to mention the child abuse, all hidden of course), our insane belief that we should not be part of the United Kingdom, the staggering fact that we have more heart disease than any other place on earth, or the well known premise that is an outright lie, Scottish people are tight! (Thrifty) No, these are not secrets, these are well known facts. Our secrets are hidden deeper than that. Hidden beneath a society that dislikes express its own feelings, where the word ‘love’ is treated more like a matter of respect than actual sentiment. Scotland itself is a hidden gem, surrounded on 3 sides by water and on the fourth by the dreaded and often hated English. It’s no secret why the English are classed as the Auld enemy, but it is a secret that those who would stand up and be counted as ‘English haters’ are few and far between. More often that not it’s just good natured banter and old fashioned saber rattling that separates good from evil where the English are concerned and although most Scots would never admit it, there is an overriding and strong desire to be as one with their enemy and to get along and to prosper. There are probably more English living in Scotland that claim to hate their fellow countrymen than there are Scots claiming the same purpose!

Our beaches are better than any beach in Caribbean or Florida or Thailand or all of the above, combined. When you drive up the west coast of Scotland you are surrounded by white sands and the most pristine clear blue ocean, unless it’s pissing down with rain and you can’t see 5 feet in front of you! Mallaig, Oban, Ullapool, the all encompassing Isle of Skye, boasting some of the most unspoiled terrain you are every likely to witness anywhere on this planet. There are no 5 star Hilton hotels here, no Ritz Carlton’s and certainly no fancy Spa’s, but what there is, often surprises those who venture out into the wilderness to enjoy some peace and quiet with little distraction, other than the elements. Scotland boasts some of the best Bed and Breakfast homes that the UK has to offer. These homes are run by some real characters, (see previous blog about Granite City), offering a comfortable alternative to those concrete monstrosities that line every beach around the globe. And there are so few people living in this part of the world that when the rain stops, and you do actually venture out onto those incredible white sands, more often than not, you are alone. No need for the Marlboro’s or Levi’s and not a taxi in sight. I’m sure the people who live in the part of Scotland crave the sunshine, just like the rest of us, but frankly, and I realize this week is the exception to the rule, they rarely see the sun, and when they do, the really appreciate it!

And so, Mr. Snowden, you should have turned left and not right when you got to Hong Kong and taken the high road and not the one that has become so low. We in Scotland would have welcomed you with open arms, got you completely pissed, robbed you blind and hung you out to dry like the hero you are not. But, in doing so, you would have had a bloody good time, you wouldn’t have had to drink any crappy vodka, eat any shite caviar and you would have had the pleasure of watching the famous Glasgow Rangers, every week, for less than the price of a shag with a sheep in Leningrad.

Good luck Edward. See you in Siberia when I come to visit. Nostrovia!

Blog Complete

New design is complete, hope you like it. Posts will commence in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, please enjoy some pictures that I took in my back yard. I’ll post more later this week. Oh, and if you get a chance, drop me a wee line and let me know what you think of the new color scheme?

Back after my Alaska trip!

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